Heterologous hosts are highly important to detect the expression of biosynthetic gene clusters that are cryptic or poorly expressed in their natural hosts. To investigate whether actinorhodin-overproducer Streptomyces coelicolor increment ppk mutant strain could be a possible prototype as a heterologous expression host, a cosmid containing most of the elm gene cluster of Streptomyces olivaceus Tu2353 was integrated into chromosomes of both S. coelicolor A3(2) and increment ppk strains. Interestingly, it was found that the production of tetracyclic polyketide 8-demethyl-tetracenomycin (8-DMTC) by recombinant strains caused significant changes in the morphology of cells. All the pellets and clumps were disentangled and mycelia were fragmented in the recombinant strains. Moreover, they produce neither pigmented antibiotics nor agarase and did not sporulate. By eliminating the elm biosynthesis genes from the cosmid, we showed that the morphological properties of recombinants were caused by the production of 8-DMTC. Extracellular application of 8-DMTC on S. coelicolor wild-type cells caused a similar phenotype with the 8-DMTC-producing recombinant strains. The results of this study may contribute to the understanding of the effect of 8-DMTC in Streptomyces since the morphological changes that we have observed have not been reported before. It is also valuable in that it provides useful information about the use of Streptomyces as hosts for the heterologous expression of 8-DMTC.