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Pure Appl. Chem., 2009, Vol. 81, No. 6, pp. 1065-1074

Published online 2009-05-05

Biosynthesis and biosynthetic engineering of calcium-dependent lipopeptide antibiotics

Jason Micklefield

School of Chemistry and Manchester Interdisciplinary Biocentre, The University of Manchester, 131 Princess Street, Manchester M1 7DN, UK

Abstract: Biosynthetic engineering involves the reprogramming of genes that are involved in the biosynthesis of natural products to generate new "non-natural" products, which might otherwise not exist in nature. Potentially this approach can be used to provide large numbers of secondary metabolites variants, with altered biological activities, many of which are too complex for effective total synthesis. Recently we have been investigating the biosynthesis of the calcium-dependent antibiotics (CDAs) which are members of the therapeutically relevant class of acidic lipopeptide antibiotics. CDAs are assembled by nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) enzymes. These large modular assembly-line enzymes process intermediates that are covalently tethered to peptidyl carrier protein (PCP) domain bonds bonds, which makes them particularly amenable to reprogramming. The CDA producer, Streptomyces coelicolor, is also a genetically tractable model organism which makes CDA an ideal template for biosynthetic engineering. To this end we have elucidated many of the key steps in CDA biosynthesis and utilized this information to develop methods that have enabled the engineered biosynthesis of wide range of CDA-type lipopeptides.