Valinomycin was recently reported to be the most potent agent against severe acute respiratory-syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) in infected Vero E6 cells. Aimed at generating analogues by metabolic engineering, the valinomycin biosynthetic gene cluster has been cloned from Streptomyces tsusimaensis ATCC 15141. Targeted disruption of a nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) gene abolishes valinomycin production, which confirms its predicted nonribosomal-peptide origin. Sequence analysis of the NRPS system reveals four distinctive modules, two of which contain unusual domain organizations that are presumably involved in the generation of biosynthetic precursors D-α-hydroxyisovaleric acid and L-lactic acid. The respective adenylation domains in these two modules contain novel substrate-specificity-conferring codes that might specify for a class of hydroxyl acids for the biosynthesis of the depsipeptide natural products.
- Antiviral agents
- Natural products
- Nonribosomal peptide synthetase