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J Am Chem Soc. 2009 Dec 9;131(48):17677-89. doi: 10.1021/ja907852c.

Biochemical analysis of the biosynthetic pathway of an anticancer tetracycline SF2575.

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Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, USA.


SF2575 1 is a tetracycline polyketide produced by Streptomyces sp. SF2575 and displays exceptionally potent anticancer activity toward a broad range of cancer cell lines. The structure of SF2575 is characterized by a highly substituted tetracycline aglycon. The modifications include methylation of the C-6 and C-12a hydroxyl groups, acylation of the 4-(S)-hydroxyl with salicylic acid, C-glycosylation of the C-9 of the D-ring with D-olivose and further acylation of the C4'-hydroxyl of D-olivose with the unusual angelic acid. Understanding the biosynthesis of SF2575 can therefore expand the repertoire of enzymes that can modify tetracyclines, and facilitate engineered biosynthesis of SF2575 analogues. In this study, we identified, sequenced, and functionally analyzed the ssf biosynthetic gene cluster which contains 40 putative open reading frames. Genes encoding enzymes that can assemble the tetracycline aglycon, as well as installing these unique structural features, are found in the gene cluster. Biosynthetic intermediates were isolated from the SF2575 culture extract to suggest the order of pendant-group addition is C-9 glycosylation, C-4 salicylation, and O-4' angelylcylation. Using in vitro assays, two enzymes that are responsible for C-4 acylation of salicylic acid were identified. These enzymes include an ATP-dependent salicylyl-CoA ligase SsfL1 and a putative GDSL family acyltransferase SsfX3, both of which were shown to have relaxed substrate specificity toward substituted benzoic acids. Since the salicylic acid moiety is critically important for the anticancer properties of SF2575, verification of the activities of SsfL1 and SsfX3 sets the stage for biosynthetic modification of the C-4 group toward structure-activity relationship studies of SF2575. Using heterologous biosynthesis in Streptomyces lividans, we also determined that biosynthesis of the SF2575 tetracycline aglycon 8 parallels that of oxytetracycline 4 and diverges after the assembly of 4-keto-anhydrotetracycline 51. The minimal ssf polyketide synthase together with the amidotransferase SsfD produced the amidated decaketide backbone that is required for the formation of 2-naphthacenecarboxamide skeleton. Additional enzymes, such as cyclases C-6 methyltransferase and C-4/C-12a dihydroxylase, were functionally reconstituted.

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