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Curr Opin Chem Biol. 1999 Oct;3(5):598-606.

Initiation, elongation, and termination strategies in polyketide and polypeptide antibiotic biosynthesis.

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


Progress in sequence analysis of biosynthetic gene clusters encoding polyketides and nonribosomal peptides and in the reconstitution of in vitro activities continues to reveal new insights into the growth of these natural products' acyl chains, which have been revealed as a series of elongating, covalent, acyl enzyme intermediates on their multimodular scaffolds. Studies that focus on the three stages of natural product biosynthesis - initiation, elongation, and termination - have yielded crucial information on monomer substrate specificity, domain and module portability, and product release mechanisms, all of which are important not only for an understanding of this exquisite enzymatic machinery, but also for the rational construction of new, functional synthetases and synthases that are a goal of combinatorial biosynthesis.

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