Siderophores are high-affinity iron chelators produced by microorganisms and frequently contribute to the virulence of human pathogens. Targeted inhibition of the biosynthesis of siderophores staphyloferrin B of Staphylococcus aureus and petrobactin of Bacillus anthracis hold considerable potential as a single or combined treatment for methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and anthrax infection, respectively. The biosynthetic pathways for both siderophores involve a nonribosomal peptide synthetase independent siderophore (NIS) synthetase, including SbnE in staphyloferrin B and AsbA in petrobactin. In this study, we developed a biochemical assay specific for NIS synthetases to screen for inhibitors of SbnE and AsbA against a library of marine microbial-derived natural product extracts (NPEs). Analysis of the NPE derived from Streptomyces tempisquensis led to the isolation of the novel antibiotics baulamycins A (BmcA, 6) and B (BmcB, 7). BmcA and BmcB displayed in vitro activity with IC50 values of 4.8 µM and 19 µM against SbnE and 180 µM and 200 µM against AsbA, respectively. Kinetic analysis showed that the compounds function as reversible competitive enzyme inhibitors. Liquid culture studies with S. aureus, B. anthracis, E. coli and several other bacterial pathogens demonstrated the capacity of these natural products to penetrate bacterial barriers and inhibit growth of both Gram-positive and Gram-negative species. These studies provide proof-of-concept that natural product inhibitors targeting siderophore virulence factors can provide access to novel broad-spectrum antibiotics, which may serve as important leads for the development of potent anti-infective agents
high throughput screening; Staphylococcus aureus; Bacillus anthracis; natural product; antibiotic
Microorganisms produce a remarkable selection of bioactive small molecules. The study and exploitation of these secondary metabolites has traditionally been restricted to the cultivable minority of bacteria. Rapid advances in meta-omics challenge this paradigm. Breakthroughs in metagenomic library methodologies, direct sequencing, single cell genomics, and natural product-specific bioinformatic tools now facilitate the retrieval of previously inaccessible biosynthetic gene clusters. Similarly, metaproteomic developments enable the direct study of biosynthetic enzymes from complex microbial communities. Additional methods within and beyond meta-omics are also in development. This review discusses recent reports in these arenas and how they can be utilized to characterize natural product biosynthetic gene clusters and pathways.
P450 enzymes are capable of catalyzing a great variety
of synthetically useful reactions such as selective C–H functionalization.
Surrogate redox partners are widely used for reconstitution of P450
activity based on the assumption that the choice of these auxiliary
proteins or their mode of action does not affect the type and selectivity
of reactions catalyzed by P450s. Herein, we present an exceptional
example to challenge this postulate. MycG, a multifunctional biosynthetic
P450 monooxygenase responsible for hydroxylation and epoxidation of
16-membered ring macrolide mycinamicins, is shown to catalyze the
unnatural N-demethylation(s) of a range of mycinamicin
substrates when partnered with the free Rhodococcus reductase domain RhFRED or the engineered Rhodococcus-spinach hybrid reductase RhFRED-Fdx. By contrast, MycG fused with
the RhFRED or RhFRED-Fdx reductase domain mediates only physiological
oxidations. This finding highlights the larger potential role of variant
redox partner protein–protein interactions in modulating the
catalytic activity of P450 enzymes.
Polyketide natural products constitute a broad class of compounds with
diverse structural features and biological activities. Their biosynthetic
machinery, represented by type I polyketide synthases, has an architecture in
which successive modules catalyze two-carbon linear extensions and keto group
processing reactions on intermediates covalently tethered to carrier domains. We
employed electron cryo-microscopy to visualize a full-length module and
determine sub-nanometer resolution 3D reconstructions that revealed an
unexpectedly different architecture compared to the homologous dimeric mammalian
fatty acid synthase. A single reaction chamber provides access to all catalytic
sites for the intra-module carrier domain. In contrast, the carrier from the
preceding module uses a separate entrance outside the reaction chamber to
deliver the upstream polyketide intermediate for subsequent extension and
modification. This study reveals for the first time the structural basis for
both intra-module and inter-module substrate transfer in polyketide synthases,
and establishes a new model for molecular dissection of these multifunctional
The polyketide synthase (PKS) mega-enzyme assembly line uses a modular architecture to synthesize diverse and bioactive natural products that often constitute the core structures or complete chemical entities for many clinically approved therapeutic agents1. The architecture of a full-length PKS module from the pikromycin pathway creates a reaction chamber for the intra-module acyl carrier protein (ACP) domain that carries building blocks and intermediates between acyltransferase (AT), ketosynthase (KS), and ketoreductase (KR) active sites (see accompanying paper by Dutta et al.). Here we determined electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM) structures of a full-length PKS module in three key biochemical states of its catalytic cycle. Each biochemical state was confirmed by bottom-up liquid chromatography Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (LC/FT-ICR MS). The ACP domain is differentially and precisely positioned after polyketide chain substrate loading on the active site of KS, after extension to the β-keto-intermediate, and after β-hydroxy product generation. The structures reveal the ACP dynamics for sequential binding to catalytic domains within the reaction chamber, and for transferring the elongated and processed polyketide substrate to the next module in the PKS pathway. During the enzymatic cycle the KR domain undergoes dramatic conformational rearrangements that enable optimal positioning for reductive processing of the ACP-bound polyketide chain elongation intermediate. These findings have crucial implications for the design of functional PKS modules, and for the engineering of pathways to generate pharmacologically relevant molecules.
Modular type I polyketide synthases (PKSs) are versatile biosynthetic systems that initiate, successively elongate and modify acyl chains. Intermediate transfer between modules is mediated via docking domains, which are attractive targets for PKS pathway engineering to produce novel small molecules. We identified a Class 2 docking domain in cyanobacterial PKSs and determined crystal structures for two docking domain pairs, revealing a novel docking strategy for promoting intermediate transfer. The selectivity of Class 2 docking interactions, demonstrated in binding and biochemical assays, could be altered by mutagenesis. We determined the ideal fusion location for exchanging Class 1 and Class 2 docking domains and demonstrated effective polyketide chain transfer in heterologous modules. Thus, Class 2 docking domains are new tools for rational bioengineering of a broad range of PKSs containing either Class 1 or 2 docking domains.
Coleopterans are the most diverse insect order described to date. These organisms have acquired an array of survival mechanisms through their evolution, including highly efficient digestive systems. Therefore, the coleopteran intestinal microbiota constitutes an important source of novel plant cell wall-degrading enzymes with potential biotechnological applications. We isolated and described the cultivable fungi, actinomycetes and aerobic eubacteria associated with the gut of larvae and adults from six different beetle families colonizing decomposing logs in protected Costa Rican ecosystems. We obtained 611 isolates and performed phylogenetic analyses using the ITS region (fungi) and 16S rDNA (bacteria). The majority of fungal isolates belonged to the order Hypocreales (26% of 169 total), while the majority of actinomycetes belonged to the genus Streptomyces (86% of 241 total). Finally, we isolated 201 bacteria spanning 19 different families belonging into four phyla: Firmicutes, α, β and γ-proteobacteria. Subsequently, we focused on microbes isolated from Passalid beetles to test their ability to degrade plant cell wall polymers. Highest scores in these assays were achieved by a fungal isolate (Anthostomella sp.), two Streptomyces and one Bacillus bacterial isolates. Our study demonstrates that Costa Rican beetles harbor several types of cultivable microbes, some of which may be involved in symbiotic relationships that enable the insect to digest complex polymers such as lignocellulose.
High throughput screening (HTS) is an integral part of a highly collaborative approach to drug discovery at the University of Michigan. The HTS lab is one of four core centers that provide services to identify, produce, screen and follow-up on biomedical targets for faculty. Key features of this system are: protein cloning and purification, protein crystallography, small molecule and siRNA HTS, medicinal chemistry and pharmacokinetics. Therapeutic areas that have been targeted include anti-bacterial, metabolic, neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, anti-cancer and anti-viral. The centers work in a coordinated, interactive environment to affordably provide academic investigators with the technology, informatics and expertise necessary for successful drug discovery. This review provides an overview of these centers at the University of Michigan, along with case examples of successful collaborations with faculty.
A biocatalytic platform that employs the final two monomodular type I polyketide synthases (PKS) of the pikromycin pathway in vitro followed by direct appendage of D-desosamine and final C-H oxidation(s) in vivo was developed and applied toward the synthesis of a suite of 12-and 14-membered ring macrolide natural products. This methodology delivered both compound classes in thirteen steps (longest linear sequence) from commercially available (R)-Roche ester in >10% overall yields.
Chemoenzymatic Synthesis; Biocatalysis; Pikromycin; Macrolides; Polyketide Synthase
bafilomycin; plecomacrolide; polyketide; biosynthesis; secondary metabolite
Cyanobacteria possess the unique capacity to naturally produce hydrocarbons from fatty acids. Hydrocarbon compositions of thirty-two strains of cyanobacteria were characterized to reveal novel structural features and insights into hydrocarbon biosynthesis in cyanobacteria. This investigation revealed new double bond (2- and 3-heptadecene) and methyl group positions (3-, 4- and 5-methylheptadecane) for a variety of strains. Additionally, results from this study and literature reports indicate that hydrocarbon production is a universal phenomenon in cyanobacteria. All cyanobacteria possess the capacity to produce hydrocarbons from fatty acids yet not all accomplish this through the same metabolic pathway. One pathway comprises a two-step conversion of fatty acids first to fatty aldehydes and then alkanes that involves a fatty acyl ACP reductase (FAAR) and aldehyde deformylating oxygenase (ADO). The second involves a polyketide synthase (PKS) pathway that first elongates the acyl chain followed by decarboxylation to produce a terminal alkene (olefin synthase, OLS). Sixty-one strains possessing the FAAR/ADO pathway and twelve strains possessing the OLS pathway were newly identified through bioinformatic analyses. Strains possessing the OLS pathway formed a cohesive phylogenetic clade with the exception of three Moorea strains and Leptolyngbya sp. PCC 6406 which may have acquired the OLS pathway via horizontal gene transfer. Hydrocarbon pathways were identified in one-hundred-forty-two strains of cyanobacteria over a broad phylogenetic range and there were no instances where both the FAAR/ADO and the OLS pathways were found together in the same genome, suggesting an unknown selective pressure maintains one or the other pathway, but not both.
In an effort to further elucidate the biogenesis of the stephacidin and notoamide families of natural products, notoamide T has been identified as the likely precursor to stephacidin A. The total synthesis of notoamide T is described along with it's C-6-epimer, 6-epi-notoamide T. The chemical conversion of stephacidin A to notoamide T by reductive ring-opening is described as well as the oxidative conversion of notoamide T to stephacidin A. Furthermore, [13C]2-notoamide T was synthesized and provided to Aspergillus versicolor and Aspergillus sp. MF297-2, in which significant incorporation was observed in the advanced metabolite, notoamide B.
Sulfated molecules with diverse functions are common in biology, but sulfonation as a method to activate a metabolite for chemical catalysis is rare. Catalytic activity was characterized and crystal structures were determined for two such “activating” sulfotransferases (STs) that sulfonate β-hydroxyacyl thioester substrates. The CurM polyketide synthase (PKS) ST domain from the curacin A biosynthetic pathway of Moorea producens and the olefin synthase (OLS) ST from a hydrocarbon-producing system of Synechococcus PCC 7002 both occur as a unique acyl carrier protein (ACP), ST and thioesterase (TE) tridomain within a larger polypeptide. During pathway termination, these cyanobacterial systems introduce a terminal double bond into the β-hydroxyacyl-ACP-linked substrate by the combined action of the ST and TE. Under in vitro conditions, CurM PKS ST and OLS ST acted on β-hydroxy fatty acyl-ACP substrates; however, OLS ST was not reactive toward analogs of the natural PKS ST substrate bearing a C5-methoxy substituent. The crystal structures of CurM ST and OLS ST revealed that they are members of a distinct protein family relative to other prokaryotic and eukaryotic sulfotransferases. A common binding site for the sulfonate donor 3'-phosphoadenosine-5'-phosphosulfate was visualized in complexes with the product 3'-phosphoadenosine-5'-phosphate. Critical functions for several conserved amino acids in the active site were confirmed by site-directed mutagenesis, including a proposed glutamate catalytic base. A dynamic active-site flap unique to the “activating” ST family affects substrate selectivity and product formation, based on the activities of chimeras of the PKS and OLS STs with exchanged active-site flaps.
Heterologous expression of the barbamide biosynthetic gene cluster, obtained from the marine cyanobacterium Moorea producens, in the terrestrial actinobacterium Streptomyces venezuelae, resulted in the production of a new barbamide congener 4-O-demethylbarbamide, demonstrating the potential of this approach for investigating the assembly and tailoring of complex marine natural products.
Natural products provide a vast array of chemical structures to explore in the discovery of new medicines. Although secondary metabolites produced by microbes have been developed to treat a variety of diseases, including bacterial and fungal infections, to date there has been limited investigation of natural products with antiviral activity. In this report, we used a phenotypic cell-based replicon assay coupled with an iterative biochemical fractionation process to identify, purify, and characterize antiviral compounds produced by marine microbes. We isolated a compound from Streptomyces kaviengensis, a novel actinomycetes isolated from marine sediments obtained off the coast of New Ireland, Papua New Guinea, which we identified as antimycin A1a. This compound displays potent activity against western equine encephalitis virus in cultured cells with half-maximal inhibitory concentrations of less than 4 nM and a selectivity index of greater than 550. Our efforts also revealed that several antimycin A analogues display antiviral activity, and mechanism of action studies confirmed that these Streptomyces-derived secondary metabolites function by inhibiting the cellular mitochondrial electron transport chain, thereby suppressing de novo pyrimidine synthesis. Furthermore, we found that antimycin A functions as a broad spectrum agent with activity against a wide range of RNA viruses in cultured cells, including members of the Togaviridae, Flaviviridae, Bunyaviridae, Picornaviridae, and Paramyxoviridae families. Finally, we demonstrate that antimycin A reduces central nervous system viral titers, improves clinical disease severity, and enhances survival in mice given a lethal challenge with western equine encephalitis virus. Our results provide conclusive validation for using natural product resources derived from marine microbes as source material for antiviral drug discovery, and they indicate that host mitochondrial electron transport is a viable target for the continued development of broadly active antiviral compounds.
A flexible and divergent synthesis of cryptophycin unit A analogues is described. This method relies on iridium-catalysed stereo- and enantioselective crotylation and chemoselective one-pot oxidative olefination to access common intermediate 8. Heck, cross metathesis, and Suzuki-Miyaura reactions are illustrated for the generation of methyl ester unit A analogues 10a-d.
sekikaic acid; depsides; CBP/p300; GACKIX; protein-protein interaction inhibitor
Diverse oxygenation patterns of natural products generated by secondary metabolic pathways in microorganisms and plants are largely achieved through the tailoring reactions catalysed by cytochrome P450 enzymes (P450s). P450s are a large family of oxidative hemoproteins found in all life forms from prokaryotes to humans. Understanding the reactivity and selectivity of these fascinating C-H bond-activating catalysts will advance their use in generating valuable pharmaceuticals and products for medicine, agriculture and industry. A major strength of this P450 group is its set of established enzyme-substrate relationships, the source of the most detailed knowledge on how P450 enzymes work. Engineering microbial-derived P450 enzymes to accommodate alternative substrates and add new functions continues to be an important near- and long-term practical goal driving the structural characterization of these molecules. Understanding the natural evolution of P450 structure-function should accelerate metabolic engineering and directed evolutionary approaches to enhance diversification of natural product structures and other biosynthetic applications.
In many macroorganisms, the ultimate source of potent biologically active natural products has remained elusive due to an inability to identify and culture the producing symbiotic microorganisms. As a model system for developing a meta-omic approach to identify and characterize natural product pathways from invertebrate-derived microbial consortia we chose to investigate the ET-743 (Yondelis®) biosynthetic pathway. This molecule is an approved anti-cancer agent obtained in low abundance (10−4–10−5% w/w) from the tunicate Ecteinascidia turbinata, and is generated in suitable quantities for clinical use by a lengthy semi-synthetic process. Based on structural similarities to three bacterial secondary metabolites, we hypothesized that ET-743 is the product of a marine bacterial symbiont. Using metagenomic sequencing of total DNA from the tunicate/microbial consortium we targeted and assembled a 35 kb contig containing 25 genes that comprise the core of the NRPS biosynthetic pathway for this valuable anti-cancer agent. Rigorous sequence analysis based on codon usage of two large unlinked contigs suggests that Candidatus Endoecteinascidia frumentensis produces the ET-743 metabolite. Subsequent metaproteomic analysis confirmed expression of three key biosynthetic proteins. Moreover, the predicted activity of an enzyme for assembly of the tetrahydroisoquinoline core of ET-743 was verified in vitro. This work provides a foundation for direct production of the drug and new analogs through metabolic engineering. We expect that the interdisciplinary approach described is applicable to diverse host-symbiont systems that generate valuable natural products for drug discovery and development.
Biosynthesis; ET-743; E. turbinata; metagenomics; metaproteomics; natural products; Pictet-Spenglerase; symbiont; tetrahydroisoquinoline; Yondelis
Stephacidin and notoamide natural products belong to a group of prenylated indole alkaloids containing a core bicyclo[2.2.2]diazaoctane ring system. These bioactive fungal secondary metabolites have a range of unusual structural and stereochemical features but their biosynthesis has remained uncharacterized. Herein, we report the first biosynthetic gene cluster for this class of fungal alkaloids based on whole genome sequencing of a marine-derived Aspergillus sp. Two central pathway enzymes catalyzing both normal and reverse prenyltransfer reactions were characterized in detail. Our results establish the early steps for creation of the prenylated indole alkaloid structure and suggest a scheme for the biosynthesis of stephacidin and notoamide metabolites. The work provides the first genetic and biochemical insights for understanding the structural diversity of this important family of fungal alkaloids.
In Nature, chiral natural products are usually produced in optically pure form; however, on occasion Nature is known to produce enantiomerically opposite metabolites. These enantiomeric natural products can arise in Nature from a single species, or from different genera and/or species. Extensive research has been carried out over the years in an attempt to understand the biogenesis of naturally occurring enantiomers, however, many fascinating puzzles and stereochemical anomalies still remain.
Germicidin synthase (Gcs) from Streptomyces coelicolor is a type III polyketide synthase (PKS) with broad substrate flexibility for acyl groups linked through a thioester bond to either coenzyme A (CoA) or acyl carrier protein (ACP). Germicidin synthesis was reconstituted in vitro by coupling Gcs with fatty acid biosynthesis. Since Gcs has broad substrate flexibility, we directly compared the kinetic properties of Gcs with both acyl-ACP and acyl-CoA. The catalytic efficiency of Gcs for acyl-ACP was 10-fold higher than for acyl-CoA suggesting a strong preference towards carrier protein starter unit transfer. The 2.9 Å germicidin synthase crystal structure revealed canonical type III PKS architecture along with an unusual helical bundle of unknown function that appears to extend the dimerization interface. A pair of arginine residues adjacent to the active site affect catalytic activity but not ACP binding. This investigation provides new and surprising information about the interactions between type III PKSs and ACPs that will facilitate the construction of engineered systems for production of novel polyketides.
Polyketide synthase; germicidin; acyl carrier protein
High-throughput screening (HTS) has historically been used by the pharmaceutical industry to rapidly test hundreds of thousands of compounds to identify potential drug candidates. More recently, academic groups have used HTS to identify new chemical probes or small interfering RNA (siRNA) that can serve as experimental tools to examine the biology or physiology of novel proteins, processes, or interactions. HTS presents a significant challenge with the vast and complex nature of data generated. This report describes MScreen, a web-based, open-source cheminformatics application for chemical library and siRNA plate management, primary HTS and dose-response data handling, structure search, and administrative functions. Each project in MScreen can be secured with passwords or shared in an open information environment which enables collaborators to easily compare data from many screens, providing a useful means to identify compounds with desired selectivity. Unique features include compound, substance, mixture, and siRNA plate creation and formatting; automated dose-response fitting and quality control (QC); and user, target, and assay method administration. MScreen provides an effective means to facilitate HTS information handling and analysis in the academic setting so that users can efficiently view their screening data and evaluate results for follow-up.
chemoinformatics; data analysis software; open source; high-throughput screening
The pikromycin (Pik)/methymycin biosynthetic pathway of Streptomyces venezuelae represents a valuable system for dissecting the fundamental mechanisms of modular polyketide biosynthesis, aminodeoxysugar assembly, glycosyltransfer, and hydroxylation leading to the production of a series of macrolide antibiotics, including the natural ketolides narbomycin and pikromycin. In this study, we describe four x-ray crystal structures and allied functional studies for PikC, the remarkable P450 monooxygenase responsible for production of a number of related macrolide products from the Pik pathway. The results provide important new insights into the structural basis for the C10/C12, and C12/C14 hydroxylation patterns for the 12- (YC-17) and 14-membered ring (narbomycin) macrolides, respectively. This includes two different ligand-free structures in an asymmetric unit (resolution 2.1 Å) and two co-crystal structures with bound endogenous substrates YC-17 (resolution 2.35 Å) or narbomycin (resolution 1.7 Å). A central feature of the enzyme-substrate interaction involves anchoring of the desosamine residue in two alternative binding pockets based on a series of distinct amino acid residues that form a salt bridge and a hydrogen bonding network with the deoxysugar C3′ dimethylamino group. Functional significance of the salt bridge was corroborated by site-directed mutagenesis that revealed a key role for E94 in YC-17 binding, and E85 for narbomycin binding. Taken together, the x-ray structure analysis, site-directed mutagenesis and corresponding product distribution studies reveal that PikC substrate tolerance, and product diversity result from a combination of alternative anchoring modes, rather than an induced fit mechanism.