natural product biosynthesis in microorganisms.
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Triggering cryptic natural product biosynthesis in microorganisms.
Aromatic polyketides are medicinally important natural products produced by type II polyketide synthases (PKSs). Some aromatic PKSs are bimodular and include a dedicated initiation module which synthesizes a non-acetate primer unit. Understanding the mechanism of this initiation module is expected to further enhance the potential for regiospecific modification of bacterial aromatic polyketides. A typical initiation module is comprised of a ketosynthase (KS), an acyl carrier protein (ACP), a malonyl-CoA:ACP transacylase (MAT), an acyl-ACP thioesterase, a ketoreductase (KR), a dehydratase (DH), and an enoyl reductase (ER). Thus far, the identities of the ketoreductase, dehydratase, and enoyl reductase remain a mystery because they are not encoded within the PKS biosynthetic gene cluster. Here we report that SCO1815 from Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2), an uncharacterized homologue of a NADPH-dependent ketoreductase, recognizes and reduces the beta-ketoacyl-ACP intermediate from the initiation module of the R1128 PKS. SCO1815 exhibits moderate specificity for both the acyl chain and the thiol donor. The X-ray crystal structure of SCO1815 was determined to 2.0 A. The structure shows that SCO1815 adopts a Rossmann fold and suggests that a conformational change occurs upon cofactor binding. We propose that a positively charged patch formed by three conserved residues is the ACP docking site. Our findings provide new engineering opportunities for incorporating unnatural primer units into novel polyketides and shed light on the biology of yet another cryptic protein in the S. coelicolor genome.
Triggering cryptic natural product biosynthesis in microorganisms
Natural products, produced chiefly by microorganisms and plants, can be large and structurally complex molecules. These molecules are manufactured by cellular assembly lines, in which enzymes construct the molecules in a stepwise fashion. The means by which enzymes interact and work together in a modular fashion to create diverse structural features has been an active area of research; the work has provided insight into the fine details of biosynthesis. A number of polycyclic aromatic natural products--including several noteworthy anticancer, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antiparasitic, and other medicinally significant substances--are synthesized by polyketide synthases (PKSs) in soil-borne bacteria called actinomycetes. Concerted biosynthetic, enzymological, and structural biological investigations into these modular enzyme systems have yielded interesting mechanistic insights. A core module called the minimal PKS is responsible for synthesizing a highly reactive, protein-bound poly-beta-ketothioester chain. In the absence of other enzymes, the minimal PKS also catalyzes chain initiation and release, yielding an assortment of polycyclic aromatic compounds. In the presence of an initiation PKS module, polyketide backbones bearing additional alkyl, alkenyl, or aryl primer units are synthesized, whereas a range of auxiliary PKS enzymes and tailoring enzymes convert the product of the minimal PKS into the final natural product. In this Account, we summarize the knowledge that has been gained regarding this family of PKSs through recent investigations into the biosynthetic pathways of two natural products, actinorhodin and R1128 (A-D). We also discuss the practical relevance of these fundamental insights for the engineered biosynthesis of new polycyclic aromatic compounds. With a deeper understanding of the biosynthetic process in hand, we can assert control at various stages of molecular construction and thus introduce unnatural functional groups in the process. The metabolic engineer affords a number of new avenues for creating novel molecular structures that will likely have properties akin to their fully natural cousins.
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