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Nat Prod Rep. 2007 Oct;24(5):1041-72. Epub 2007 Jul 2.

The type I fatty acid and polyketide synthases: a tale of two megasynthases.

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  • 1Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, 5700 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Oakland, California 94609, USA.


This review chronicles the synergistic growth of the fields of fatty acid and polyketide synthesis over the last century. In both animal fatty acid synthases and modular polyketide synthases, similar catalytic elements are covalently linked in the same order in megasynthases. Whereas in fatty acid synthases the basic elements of the design remain immutable, guaranteeing the faithful production of saturated fatty acids, in the modular polyketide synthases, the potential of the basic design has been exploited to the full for the elaboration of a wide range of secondary metabolites of extraordinary structural diversity.

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