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Chem Biol. 2011 Mar 25;18(3):381-91. doi: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2010.12.018.

Insights into the biosynthesis of hormaomycin, an exceptionally complex bacterial signaling metabolite.

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Department of Bioorganic Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, 07745 Jena, Germany.


Hormaomycin produced by Streptomyces griseoflavus is a structurally highly modified depsipeptide that contains several unique building blocks with cyclopropyl, nitro, and chlorine moieties. Within the genus Streptomyces, it acts as a bacterial hormone that induces morphological differentiation and the production of bioactive secondary metabolites. In addition, hormaomycin is an extremely potent narrow-spectrum antibiotic. In this study, we shed light on hormaomycin biosynthesis by a combination of feeding studies, isolation of the biosynthetic nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) gene cluster, and in vivo and in vitro functional analysis of enzymes. In addition, several nonnatural hormaomycin congeners were generated by feeding-induced metabolic rerouting. The NRPS contains numerous highly repetitive regions that suggest an evolutionary scenario for this unusual bacterial hormone, providing new opportunities for evolution-inspired metabolic engineering of novel nonribosomal peptides.

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