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Biotechnol Prog. 2001 Jul-Aug;17(4):612-7.

Enhancing the atom economy of polyketide biosynthetic processes through metabolic engineering.

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Departments of Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, and Biochemistry, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305-5025, USA.


Polyketides, a large family of bioactive natural products, are synthesized from building blocks derived from alpha-carboxylated Coenzyme A thioesters such as malonyl-CoA and (2S)-methylmalonyl-CoA. The productivity of polyketide fermentation processes in natural and heterologous hosts is frequently limited by the availability of these precursors in vivo. We describe a metabolic engineering strategy to enhance both the yield and volumetric productivity of polyketide biosynthesis. The genes matB and matC from Rhizobium trifolii encode a malonyl-CoA synthetase and a putative dicarboxylate transport protein, respectively. These proteins can directly convert exogenous malonate and methylmalonate into their corresponding CoA thioesters with an ATP requirement of 2 mol per mol of acyl-CoA produced. Heterologous expression of matBC in a recombinant strain of Streptomyces coelicolor that produces the macrolactone 6-deoxyerythronolide B results in a 300% enhancement of macrolactone titers. The unusual efficiency of the bioconversion is illustrated by the fact that approximately one-third of the methylmalonate units added to the fermentation medium are converted into macrolactones. The direct conversion of inexpensive feedstocks such as malonate and methylmalonate into polyketides represents the most carbon- and energy-efficient route to these high value natural products and has implications for cost-effective fermentation of numerous commercial and development-stage small molecules.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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