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Bioessays. 1995 Sep;17(9):793-802.

The genetics of lantibiotic biosynthesis.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.


The lantibiotics are a rapidly expanding group of biologically active peptides produced by a variety of Gram-positive bacteria, and are so-called because of their content of the thioether amino acids lanthionine and beta-methyllanthionine. These amino acids, and indeed a number of other unusual amino acids found in the lantibiotics, arise following post-translational modification of a ribosomally synthesised precursor peptide. A number of genes involved in the biosynthesis of these highly modified peptides have been identified, including genes encoding the precursor peptide, enzymes responsible for specific amino acid modifications, proteases able to remove the leader peptide, ABC-superfamily transport proteins involved in lantibiotic translocation, regulatory proteins controlling lantibiotic biosynthesis and proteins that protect the producing strain from the action of its own lantibiotic. Analysis of these genes and their products is allowing greater understanding of the complex mechanism(s) of the biosynthesis of these unique peptides.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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