Echinocandins are a family of fungal lipidated cyclic hexapeptide natural products. Due to their effectiveness as antifungal agents, three semisynthetic derivatives have been developed and approved for treatment of human invasive candidiasis. All six of the amino acid residues are hydroxylated, including 4R,5R-dihydroxy-L-ornithine, 4R-hydroxyl-L-proline, 3S,4S-dihydroxy-L-homotyrosine, and 3S-hydroxyl-4S-methyl-L-proline. We report here the biosynthetic gene cluster of echinocandin B 1 from Emericella rugulosa NRRL 11440 containing genes encoding for a six-module nonribosomal peptide synthetase EcdA, an acyl-AMP ligase EcdI, and oxygenases EcdG, EcdH, and EcdK. We showed EcdI activates linoleate as linoleyl-AMP and installs it on the first thiolation domain of EcdA. We have also established through ATP-PP(i) exchange assay that EcdA loads L-ornithine in the first module. A separate hty gene cluster encodes four enzymes for de novo generation of L-homotyrosine from acetyl-CoA and 4-hydroxyphenyl-pyruvate is found from the sequenced genome. Deletions in the ecdA, and htyA genes validate their essential roles in echinocandin B production. Five predicted iron-centered oxygenase genes, ecdG, ecdH, ecdK, htyE, and htyF, in the two separate ecd and hty clusters are likely to be the tailoring oxygenases for maturation of the nascent NRPS lipohexapeptidolactam product.
"Finally, a putative biosynthetic pathway for L-homotyrosine, the non-proteinogenic amino acid in the pneumocandin peptide core’s fourth position, sits downstream of GLNPRS4 (Figure 8a). This set of five contiguous genes showed significant identity to the L-homotyrosine pathway of E. rugulosa (Figure 8b), although the direction of transcription was inverted in two of the five genes, and consisted of GLAREA10037, an aconitase (62% identity to hytD), GLAREA 10038, an isopropyl malate dehydrogenase (71% identity to htyC), GLAREA10039, a 2-isopropyl malate synthase (63.7% identity to hytA), and GLAREA10040, an aminotransferase (64% identity to hytB), and GLAREA10041, a non-heme dioyxgenase (63.8% identity to hytE). However, unlike the L-homotyrosine pathway of E. rugulosa, the cytochrome P450 oxygenase gene corresponding to hytF, was absent (Figure 8b). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
The antifungal therapy caspofungin is a semi-synthetic derivative of pneumocandin B0, a lipohexapeptide produced by the fungus Glarea lozoyensis, and was the first member of the echinocandin class approved for human therapy. The nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS)-polyketide synthases (PKS) gene cluster responsible for pneumocandin biosynthesis from G. lozoyensis has not been elucidated to date. In this study, we report the elucidation of the pneumocandin biosynthetic gene cluster by whole genome sequencing of the G. lozoyensis wild-type strain ATCC 20868.
The pneumocandin biosynthetic gene cluster contains a NRPS (GLNRPS4) and a PKS (GLPKS4) arranged in tandem, two cytochrome P450 monooxygenases, seven other modifying enzymes, and genes for L-homotyrosine biosynthesis, a component of the peptide core. Thus, the pneumocandin biosynthetic gene cluster is significantly more autonomous and organized than that of the recently characterized echinocandin B gene cluster. Disruption mutants of GLNRPS4 and GLPKS4 no longer produced the pneumocandins (A0 and B0), and the Δglnrps4 and Δglpks4 mutants lost antifungal activity against the human pathogenic fungus Candida albicans. In addition to pneumocandins, the G. lozoyensis genome encodes a rich repertoire of natural product-encoding genes including 24 PKSs, six NRPSs, five PKS-NRPS hybrids, two dimethylallyl tryptophan synthases, and 14 terpene synthases.
Characterization of the gene cluster provides a blueprint for engineering new pneumocandin derivatives with improved pharmacological properties. Whole genome estimation of the secondary metabolite-encoding genes from G. lozoyensis provides yet another example of the huge potential for drug discovery from natural products from the fungal kingdom.
"Interestingly, the best results were obtained with L-Tyr and L-Phe (15 g/l) (Tóth 2012), which are good sources of 4- hydroxyl-phenyl-pyruvate, the precursor of homoTyr synthesis (Cacho et al. 2012). Importantly, plant oils also enhance echinocandin B production (Boeck and Kastner 1981; Tóth et al. 2011; Tóth 2012) and are generally used in echinocandin fermentations to enhance the formation of the acyl side-chains of the antimycotics. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The first echinocandin-type antimycotic (echinocandin B) was discovered in the 1970s. It was followed by the isolation of more than 20 natural echinocandins. These cyclic lipo-hexapeptides are biosynthesized on non-ribosomal peptide synthase complexes by different ascomycota fungi. They have a unique mechanism of action; as non-competitive inhibitors of β-1,3-glucan synthase complex they target the fungal cell wall. Results of the structure-activity relationship experiments let us develop semisynthetic derivatives with improved properties. Three cyclic lipohiexapeptides (caspofungin, micafungin and anidulafungin) are currently approved for use in clinics. As they show good fungicidal (Candida spp.) or fungistatic (Aspergillus spp.) activity against the most important human pathogenic fungi including azole-resistant strains, they are an important addition to the antifungal armamentarium. Some evidence of acquired resistance against echinocandins has been detected among Candida glabrata strains in recent years, which enhanced the importance of data collected on the mechanism of acquired resistance developing against the echinocandins. In this review, we show the structural diversity of natural echinocandins, and we summarize the emerging data on their mode of action, biosynthesis and industrial production. Their clinical significance as well as the mechanism of natural and acquired resistance is also discussed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: L-Homophenylalanine (L-Hph) is a useful chiral building block for synthesis of several drugs, including angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and the novel proteasome inhibitor carfilzomib. While the chemo-enzymatic route of synthesis is fully developed, we investigated microbial production of L-Hph to explore the possibility of a more efficient and sustainable approach to L-Hph production. We hypothesized that L-Hph is synthesized from L-Phe via a mechanism homologous to 3-methyl-2-oxobutanoic acid conversion to 4-methyl-2-oxopentanoic acid during leucine biosynthesis. Based on bioinformatic analysis, we found three putative homophenylalanine biosynthesis genes, hphA (Npun_F2464), hphB (Npun_F2457), and hphCD (Npun_F2458), in the cyanobacterium Nostoc punctiforme PCC73102, located around the gene cluster responsible for anabaenopeptin biosynthesis. We constructed Escherichia coli strains harboring hphABCD-expressing plasmids and achieved the fermentative production of L-Hph from L-Phe. To our knowledge, this is a first identification of the genes responsible for the homophenylalanine synthesis in any organisms. Furthermore, to improve the low conversion efficiency of the initial strain, we optimized the expression of hphA, hphB, and hphCD, which increased the yield to ∼630 mg/L. The L-Hph biosynthesis and L-Leu biosynthesis genes from E. coli were also compared. This analysis revealed that HphB has comparatively relaxed substrate specificity and can perform the function of LeuB, but HphA and HphCD show a tight substrate specificity and cannot complement the LeuA and LeuC/LeuD functions, and vice versa. Finally, the range of substrate tolerance of the L-Hph-producing strain was examined, which showed m-Fluorophenylalanine, o-Fluorophenylalanine, and L-Tyrosine were accepted as substrates, and that the corresponding homoamino acids were generated.
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