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Beilstein J Org Chem. 2013 Nov 19;9:2556-63. doi: 10.3762/bjoc.9.290.

The regulation and biosynthesis of antimycins.

Author information

1
School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, United Kingdom ; School of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Garstang Buildling, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, United Kingdom.
2
School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, United Kingdom.

Abstract

Antimycins (>40 members) were discovered nearly 65 years ago but the discovery of the gene cluster encoding antimycin biosynthesis in 2011 has facilitated rapid progress in understanding the unusual biosynthetic pathway. Antimycin A is widely used as a piscicide in the catfish farming industry and also has potent killing activity against insects, nematodes and fungi. The mode of action of antimycins is to inhibit cytochrome c reductase in the electron transport chain and halt respiration. However, more recently, antimycin A has attracted attention as a potent and selective inhibitor of the mitochondrial anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL. Remarkably, this inhibition is independent of the main mode of action of antimycins such that an artificial derivative named 2-methoxyantimycin A inhibits Bcl-xL but does not inhibit respiration. The Bcl-2/Bcl-xL family of proteins are over-produced in cancer cells that are resistant to apoptosis-inducing chemotherapy agents, so antimycins have great potential as anticancer drugs used in combination with existing chemotherapeutics. Here we review what is known about antimycins, the regulation of the ant gene cluster and the unusual biosynthetic pathway.

KEYWORDS:

Streptomyces; antimycins; gene regulation; genome mining; natural products

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