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An increase in emerging infectious diseases in the last century has sparked an increased need for new antimicrobial compounds to combat illness. While many of these compounds are synthesized, there is also a wealth of possibilities for antimicrobials found in nature, such as the tryptophan derived violacein. Violacein is a purple secondary metabolite produced by Janthinobacterium lividum and thought to act as an antifungal against the deadly cutaneous fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, which is decimating amphibian populations worldwide. Our study helps to elucidate the biosynthetic pathway of violacein in a Janthinobacterium sp. environmental isolate, and begins to determine if the chemical structure of violacein is unique to its antifungal capabilities. We found that the vioC gene in the violacein operon was interrupted in a green mutant, created through transposon mutagenesis, causing production of chromoviridans, the oxidized form of a stable intermediate in the violacein biosynthetic pathway (deoxychromoviridans). We hoped to test chromoviridans for antifungal abilities against Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, but contamination issues prevented accurate results from this part of the study.
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Tanner, Joshua, "Interruption of vioC in a Janthinobacterium sp. mutant produces a green pigment structurally similar to chromoviridans" (2012). Senior Projects Spring 2012. 188.