Bacteroidetes can be a rich source of novel lanthipeptides: The case study of Pedobacter lusitanus

Tânia Caetano, Wilfred van der Donk, Sónia Mendo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lanthipeptides are intriguing peptides known since 1928, the year of penicillin's discovery. At that time, they were known as lantibiotics due to their (methyl)lanthionine amino acids and antibacterial activity. Their body of knowledge expanded tremendously over the last few years. Our analysis reveals that Bacteroidetes has a high state of clusters encoding the biosynthesis of class I lanthipeptides. We show that some strains of Pedobacter have a number of LanBs/genome comparable to that of some Actinobacteria. The case study selected was Pedobacter lusitanus NL19. Its clusters identified encode LanBs associated with LanCs as well as orphan LanBs. The first are concomitant with LanT transporters typical of class II lanthipeptides (and not class I), making their clusters into a hybrid class I and class II type. So far, this kind of operon was described only once and is involved in the production of pinensins, the first lanthipeptide with antifungal activity. A particular feature of pinensins is their splitted LanBs and we found that these enzymes are also widely encoded in Bacteroides. The function of a high percentage of proteins predicted to play a role in the production of Pedobacter lanthipeptides is unknown. Other major fraction of these proteins is expected to be enrolled in signal-transduction pathways. We demonstrate that the occurrence of lanthipeptides clusters in the genomes of Gram-negative bacteria is higher than previously reported. More importantly, we show that their genetic background is highly diverse, which is an undeniable foreshadowing of novel peptide structures, biochemistry and biological function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number126441
JournalMicrobiological Research
StatePublished - May 2020


  • Antibacterial activity
  • Class I and class II lanthipeptides
  • Comparative genomics
  • Gram negative
  • Lantibiotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology


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