The methylmalonyl coenzyme A (methylmalonyl-CoA)-specific acyltransferase (AT) domains of modules 1 and 2 of the 6-deoxyerythronolide B synthase (DEBS1) of Saccharopolyspora erythraea ER720 were replaced with three heterologous AT domains that are believed, based on sequence comparisons, to be specific for malonyl-CoA. The three substituted AT domains were "Hyg" AT2 from module 2 of a type I polyketide synthase (PKS)-like gene cluster isolated from the rapamycin producer Streptomyces hygroscopicus ATCC 29253, "Ven" AT isolated from a PKS-like gene cluster of the pikromycin producer Streptomyces venezuelae ATCC 15439, and RAPS AT14 from module 14 of the rapamycin PKS gene cluster of S. hygroscopicus ATCC 29253. These changes led to the production of novel erythromycin derivatives by the engineered strains of S. erythraea ER720. Specifically, 12-desmethyl-12-deoxyerythromycin A, which lacks the methyl group at C-12 of the macrolactone ring, was produced by the strains in which the resident AT1 domain was replaced, and 10-desmethylerythromycin A and 10-desmethyl-12-deoxyerythromycin A, both of which lack the methyl group at C-10 of the macrolactone ring, were produced by the recombinant strains in which the resident AT2 domain was replaced. All of the novel erythromycin derivatives exhibited antibiotic activity against Staphylococcus aureus. The production of the erythromycin derivatives through AT replacements confirms the computer predicted substrate specificities of "Hyg" AT2 and "Ven" AT and the substrate specificity of RAPS AT14 deduced from the structure of rapamycin. Moreover, these experiments demonstrate that at least some AT domains of the complete 6-deoxyerythronolide B synthase of S. erythraea can be replaced by functionally related domains from different organisms to make novel, bioactive compounds
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