Uncovering the potential of novel micromonosporae isolated from an extreme hyper-arid Atacama Desert soil

Lorena Carro (Corresponding Author), Jean Franco Castro, Valeria Razmilic, Imen Nouioui, Che Pan, José M Igual, Marcel Jaspars, Michael Goodfellow, Alan T Bull, Juan A Asenjo, Hans-Peter Klenk

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The taxonomic status, biotechnological and ecological potential of several Micromonospora strains isolated from an extreme hyper arid Atacama Desert soil were determined. Initially, a polyphasic study was undertaken to clarify the taxonomic status of five micromonosporae, strains LB4, LB19, LB32T, LB39T and LB41, isolated from an extreme hyper-arid soil collected from one of the driest regions of the Atacama Desert. All of the isolates were found to have chemotaxonomic, cultural and morphological properties consistent with their classification in the genus Micromonospora. Isolates LB32T and LB39T were distinguished from their nearest phylogenetic neighbours and proposed as new species, namely as Micromonospora arida sp. nov. and Micromonospora inaquosa sp. nov., respectively. Eluted methanol extracts of all of the isolates showed activity against a panel of bacterial and fungal indicator strains, notably against multi-drug resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae ATCC 700603 while isolates LB4 and LB41 showed pronounced anti-tumour activity against HepG2 cells. Draft genomes generated for the isolates revealed a rich source of novel biosynthetic gene clusters, some of which were unique to individual strains thereby opening up the prospect of selecting especially gifted micromonosporae for natural product discovery. Key stress-related genes detected in the genomes of all of the isolates provided an insight into how micromonosporae adapt to the harsh environmental conditions that prevail in extreme hyper-arid Atacama Desert soils.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4678
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

This project was partly funded by a UK-Newton Project for UK-Chile collaboration (JIC CA 586) and by support from the Basal Programme of CONICYT for the Centre for Biotechnology and Bioengineering (CeBiB) (project FB0001). IN and LC thank Newcastle University for postdoctoral fellowships and ATB and MG are indebted to the Leverhulme Trust for Emeritus Fellowships. LC thanks the University of Salamanca for a postdoctoral fellowship.


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