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Eur J Biochem. 1995 Dec 1;234(2):414-26.

Post-translational heterocyclic backbone modifications in the 43-peptide antibiotic microcin B17. Structure elucidation and NMR study of a 13C,15N-labelled gyrase inhibitor.

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Institut für Organische Chemie, Eberhard-Karls-Universität, Tübingen, Germany.


Microcin B17 (McB17), the first known gyrase inhibitor of peptidic nature, is produced by ribosomal synthesis and post-translational modification of the 69-residue precursor protein by an Escherichia coli strain. To elucidate the chemical structure of the mature 43-residue peptide antibiotic, fermentation and purification protocols were established and optimized which allowed the isolation and purification of substantial amounts of highly pure McB17 (non-labelled, 15N-labelled and 13C/15N-labelled peptide. By ultraviolet-absorption spectroscopy. HPLC-electrospray mass spectrometry and GC-mass spectrometry, amino acid analysis, protein sequencing, and, in particular, multidimensional NMR, we could demonstrate and unequivocally prove that the enzymic modification of the precursor backbone at Gly-Cys and Gly-Ser segments leads to the formation of 2-aminomethylthiazole-4-carboxylic acid and 2-aminomethyloxazole-4-carboxylic acid, respectively. In addition, two bicyclic modifications 2-(2-aminomethyloxazolyl)thiazole-4-carboxylic acid and 2-(2-aminomethylthiazolyl)oxazole-4-carboxylic acid were found that consist of directly linked thiazole and oxazole rings derived from one Gly-Ser-Cys and one Gly-Cys-Ser segment. Analogous to the thiazole and oxazole rings found in antitumor peptides of microbial and marine origin, these heteroaromatic ring systems of McB17 presumably play an important role in its gyrase-inhibiting activity, e.g. interacting with the DNA to trap the covalent protein-DNA intermediate of the breakage-reunion reaction of the gyrase.

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