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Mol Microbiol. 2000 Jul;37(1):1-12.

Assembly of aryl-capped siderophores by modular peptide synthetases and polyketide synthases.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, NY 10021, USA.


Bacterial siderophores assist pathogens in iron acquisition inside their hosts. They are often essential for achieving a successful infection, and their biosynthesis represents an attractive antibiotic target. Recently, several siderophore biosynthetic loci have been identified, and in vitro studies have advanced our knowledge of the biosynthesis of aryl-capped peptide and peptide-polyketide siderophores from Mycobacterium spp., Pseudomonas spp., Yersinia spp. and other bacteria. These studies also provided insights into the assembly of related siderophores and many secondary metabolites of medical relevance. Assembly of aryl-capped peptide and peptide-polyketide siderophores involves non-ribosomal peptide synthetase, polyketide synthase and non-ribosomal-peptide polyketide hybrid subunits. Analysis of these subunits suggests that their domains and modules are functionally and structurally independent. It appears that nature has selected a set of functional domains and modules that can be rearranged in different order and combinations to biosynthesize different products. Although much remains to be learned about modular synthetases and synthases, it is already possible to conceive strategies to engineer these enzymes to generate novel products.

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