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Annu Rev Microbiol. 1996;50:467-90.

Genetically engineered synthesis of natural products: from alkaloids to corrins.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Texas A&M University, College Station 77843-3255, USA.


Because many natural products are of biological and medicinal importance, methods are continually being sought for studying their biosynthetic pathways, which may eventually result in increased production and the generation of novel compounds. Advances in genetic engineering have enabled the homologous or heterologous expression of many natural product biosynthetic genes from divergent sources, resulting in a supply of enzymes not readily available by isolation from the producing organism. Mixing and matching of these enzymes in cell-free reactions can provide information, not available by any other means, about enzyme mechanisms, pathway intermediates, and possible variations in the structure of the final product.

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