Prof Mark Buttner

Head of Department
Molecular Microbiology

Mark works on the control of development in the antibiotic-producing bacteria Streptomyces.

His lab has established S. venezuelae as a new model species for the genus because it sporulates in liquid culture. This greatly facilitates the application of global ‘omics’ approaches to the study of development, and allows movies to be made of the complete spore-to-spore lifecycle.

Mark also uses Streptomyces superhost strains to express antibiotic gene clusters heterologously.

  • Developmental research into sporulation in Streptomyces
  • Sporulation in liquid culture
  • Streptomyces superhosts for heterologous expression of antibiotic gene clusters


Research in the lab focusses on the cell biological processes underpinning Streptomyces sporulation, the master regulators that control these processes, and the regulatory networks that link the two. 

Their approach exploits a broad range of disciplines including cell biology, modelling, global ‘omics’ methods, genetics and biochemistry, right through to X-ray crystallography.

As part of their work, they have recently pioneered the development of Streptomyces venezuelae as a new model system for the genus. Unlike most Streptomyces species, S. venezuelae sporulates in liquid culture, giving a unique opportunity to follow the movement of multiple developmental proteins in time and space during differentiation using time-lapse imaging (movies). Sporulation in liquid culture also allows them to optimally apply global approaches like microarray transcriptional profiling and ChIP-seq to the analysis of cellular differentiation. 

In addition to their developmental research, the group also investigate the molecular mechanisms that mediate oxidative and cell envelope stress responses in Streptomyces, and those involved in the control of antibiotic resistance, focussing on key components of each signal transduction pathway.

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Recent Publications

Schumacher M. A., Bush M. J., Bibb M. J., Ramos Leon F., Chandra G., Zeng W., Buttner M. J. (2018)

The Crystal Structure of the RsbN-σBldN Complex from Streptomyces venezuelae Defines a New Structural Class of Anti-σ Factor

Nucleic Acids Research 46 p7405-7417

Publisher’s version: 10.1093/nar/gky493

Schumacher M. A., den Hengst C. D., Bush M. J., Le T. B. K., Tran N. T., Chandra G., Zeng W., Travis B., Brennan R. G., Buttner M. J. (2018)

The MerR-like protein BldC binds DNA direct repeats as cooperative multimers to regulate Streptomyces development.

Nature communications 9 p1139

Publisher’s version: 10.1038/s41467-018-03576-3

Buttner M. J., Schäfer M., Lawson D. M., Maxwell A. (2018)

Structural insights into simocyclinone as an antibiotic, effector ligand and substrate.

FEMS Microbiology Reviews 42 p100112

Publisher’s version: 10.1093/femsre/fux055

Schlimpert S., Wasserstrom S., Chandra G., Bibb M. J., Findlay K. C., Flärdh K., Buttner M. J. (2017)

Two dynamin-like proteins stabilize FtsZ rings during Streptomyces sporulation.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 114 pE6176-E6183

Publisher’s version: 10.1073/pnas.1704612114

Bush M., Chandra G., Findlay K., Buttner M. (2017)

Multi-layered inhibition of Streptomyces development: BldO is a dedicated repressor of whiB

Molecular Microbiology 104 p700-711

Publisher’s version: 10.1111/mmi.13663

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Mark Buttner


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