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Bioeng Bugs. 2011 Jul-Aug;2(4):218-21. doi: 10.4161/bbug.2.4.15877. Epub 2011 Jul 1.

Revealing the first uridyl peptide antibiotic biosynthetic gene cluster and probing pacidamycin biosynthesis.

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School of Chemistry, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.


There is an urgent need for new antibiotics with resistance continuing to emerge toward existing classes. The pacidamycin antibiotics possess a novel scaffold and exhibit unexploited bioactivity rendering them attractive research targets. We recently reported the first identification of a biosynthetic cluster encoding uridyl peptide antibiotic assembly and the engineering of pacidamycin biosynthesis into a heterologous host. We report here our methods toward identifying the biosynthetic cluster. Our initial experiments employed conventional methods of probing a cosmid library using PCR and Southern blotting, however it became necessary to adopt a state-of-the-art genome scanning  and in silico hybridization approach  to pin point the cluster. Here we describe our "real" and "virtual" probing methods and contrast the benefits and pitfalls of each approach. 

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