The filamentous bacterium Streptomyces coelicolor has a complex life cycle involving the formation of hair-like aerial mycelia on the colony surface, which differentiate into chains of spores. Genes required for the initiation of aerial mycelium formation have been termed 'bld' (bald), describing the smooth, undifferentiated colonies of mutant strains. We report the identification of a new bld gene designated as sco3099 and biochemical analysis of its encoded enzyme, cytochrome P450 (P450, or CYP) 107U1. Deletion of sco3099 resulted in a mutant defective in aerial hyphae sporulation and sensitive to heat shock, indicating that P450 107U1 plays a key role in growth and development of S. coelicolor. This is the first P450 reported to participate in a sporulation process in Streptomycetes. The substrate and catalytic properties of P450 107U1 were further investigated in mass spectrometry-based metabolomic studies. Glycocholic acid (from the medium) was identified as a substrate of P450 107U1 and was oxidized to glyco-7-oxo-deoxycholic acid. Although this reaction is apparently not relevant to the observed sporulation deficiency, it suggests that P450 107U1 might exert its physiological function by oxidizing other steroid-like molecules.
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