Reconstitution of the FK228 biosynthetic pathway reveals cross talk between modular polyketide synthases and fatty acid synthase

Shane R. Wesener, Vishwakanth Y. Potharla, Yi Qiang Cheng

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26 Scopus citations


Functional cross talk between fatty acid biosynthesis and secondary metabolism has been discovered in several cases in microorganisms; none of them, however, involves a modular biosynthetic enzyme. Previously, we reported a hybrid modular nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS)-polyketide synthase (PKS) pathway for the biosynthesis of FK228 anticancer depsipeptide in Chromobacterium violaceum strain 968. This pathway contains two PKS modules on the DepBC enzymes that lack a functional acyltransferase (AT) domain, and no apparent AT-encoding gene exists within the gene cluster or its vicinity. We report here that, through reconstitution of the FK228 biosynthetic pathway in Escherichia coli cells, two essential genes, fabD1 and fabD2, both encoding a putative malonyl coenzyme A (CoA) acyltransferase component of the fatty acid synthase complex, are positively identified to be involved in FK228 biosynthesis. Either gene product appears sufficient to complement the AT-less PKS modules on DepBC for polyketide chain elongation. Concurrently, a gene (sfp) encoding a putative Sfp-type phosphopantetheinyltransferase was identified to be necessary for FK228 biosynthesis as well. Most interestingly, engineered E. coli strains carrying variable genetic components produced significant levels of FK228 under both aerobic and anaerobic cultivation conditions. Discovery of the trans complementation of modular PKSs by housekeeping ATs reveals natural product biosynthesis diversity. Moreover, demonstration of anaerobic production of FK228 by an engineered facultative bacterial strain validates our effort toward the engineering of novel tumor-targeting bioagents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1501-1507
Number of pages7
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2011


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