Molecular biology of antibiotic production in bacillus

Michiko M. Nakano, Peter Zuber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Several species of the genus Bacillus produce peptide antibiotics which are synthesized either through a ribosomal or non-ribosomal mechanism. The antibiotics gramicidin, tyrocidine, and bacitracin are synthesized nonribosomally by the multienzyme thiotemplate mechanism. Surfactin and mycobacillin are also synthesized nonribosomally but by a mechanism that, apparently, is distinct from that of the multienzyme thiotemplate. Other antibiotics such as subtilin are gene encoded and are ribosomally synthesized. Molecular genetic and DNA sequence analysis have shown that biosynthesis genes for some antibiotics are clustered into polycistronic transcription units and are under the control of global regulatory systems that govern the expression of genes that are induced when Bacillus cells enter stationary phase of growth. Future experiments involving the molecular dissection of peptide antibiotic biosynthesis genes in Bacillus will be attempted in hopes of further examining the mechanism and regulation of antibiotic production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-240
Number of pages18
JournalCritical reviews in biotechnology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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