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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Mar 30;107(13):5798-803. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1001681107. Epub 2010 Mar 15.

A flavin-dependent halogenase catalyzes the chlorination step in the biosynthesis of Dictyostelium differentiation-inducing factor 1.

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  • 1Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, 240 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Differentiation-inducing factor 1 (DIF-1) is a polyketide-derived morphogen which drives stalk cell formation in the developmental cycle of Dictyostelium discoideum. Previous experiments demonstrated that the biosynthetic pathway proceeds via dichlorination of the precursor molecule THPH, but the enzyme responsible for this transformation has eluded characterization. Our recent studies on prokaryotic flavin-dependent halogenases and insights from the sequenced Dd genome led us to a candidate gene for this transformation. In this work, we present in vivo and in vitro evidence that chlA from Dd encodes a flavin-dependent halogenase capable of catalyzing both chlorinations in the biosynthesis of DIF-1. The results provide in vitro characterization of a eukaryotic oxygen-dependent halogenase and demonstrate a broad reach in biology for this molecular tailoring strategy, notably its involvement in the differentiation program of a social amoeba.

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