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Chem Biol. 2005 Nov;12(11):1189-200.

Generation of D amino acid residues in assembly of arthrofactin by dual condensation/epimerization domains.

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  • 1Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


The first 6 residues of the biosurfactant lipopeptidolactone arthrofactin have the D configuration, yet none of the 11 modules of the nonribosomal peptide synthetase assembly line have epimerization domains. We show that the two-module ArfA subunit and the first module of the ArfB subunit, which act in tandem to produce the N-acyl-D-Leu1-D-Asp2-D-Thr3-S-protein intermediate, activate the L amino acids and epimerize them as the aminoacyl-S-pantetheinyl T domain intermediates before the next downstream condensation. The condensation (C) domains are shown to have (D)C(L) chirality in peptide bond formation. The upstream aminoacyl/peptidyl moiety is epimerized before condensation only when the condensation domains are simultaneously presented with the L-aminoacyl-S-pantetheinyl acceptor. These (D)C(L) catalysts are dual function condensation/epimerization domains that can be predicted by bioinformatics analysis to be responsible for incorporation of all D residues in arthrofactin and of D residues in syringomycin, syringopeptin, and ramoplanin synthetases.

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