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Chembiochem. 2010 Jan 4;11(1):119-26. doi: 10.1002/cbic.200900584.

Exploring the substrate promiscuity of drug-modifying enzymes for the chemoenzymatic generation of N-acylated aminoglycosides.

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Life Sciences Institute, University of Michigan, 210 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.


Aminoglycosides are broad-spectrum antibiotics commonly used for the treatment of serious bacterial infections. Decades of clinical use have led to the widespread emergence of bacterial resistance to this family of drugs limiting their efficacy in the clinic. Here, we report the development of a methodology that utilizes aminoglycoside acetyltransferases (AACs) and unnatural acyl coenzyme A analogues for the chemoenzymatic generation of N-acylated aminoglycoside analogues. Generation of N-acylated aminoglycosides is followed by a simple qualitative test to assess their potency as potential antibacterials. The studied AACs (AAC(6')-APH(2'') and AAC(3)-IV) show diverse substrate promiscuity towards a variety of aminoglycosides as well as acyl coenzyme A derivatives. The enzymes were also used for the sequential generation of homo- and hetero-di-N-acylated aminoglycosides. Following the clinical success of the N-acylated amikacin and arbekacin, our chemoenzymatic approach offers access to regioselectively N-acylated aminoglycosides in quantities that allow testing of the antibacterial potential of the synthetic analogues making it possible to decide which molecules will be worth synthesizing on a larger scale.

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