Modulation of Polyketide Synthase Activity by Accessory Proteins During Lovastatin Biosynthesis

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Science  21 May 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5418, pp. 1368-1372
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5418.1368

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Polyketides, the ubiquitous products of secondary metabolism in microorganisms, are made by a process resembling fatty acid biosynthesis that allows the suppression of reduction or dehydration reactions at specific biosynthetic steps, giving rise to a wide range of often medically useful products. The lovastatin biosynthesis cluster contains two type I polyketide synthase genes. Synthesis of the main nonaketide-derived skeleton was found to require the previously known iterative lovastatin nonaketide synthase (LNKS), plus at least one additional protein (LovC) that interacts with LNKS and is necessary for the correct processing of the growing polyketide chain and production of dihydromonacolin L. The noniterative lovastatin diketide synthase (LDKS) enzyme specifies formation of 2-methylbutyrate and interacts closely with an additional transesterase (LovD) responsible for assembling lovastatin from this polyketide and monacolin J.

  • * Present address: Dipartimento di Scienze Biochimiche, University “La Sapienza,” Rome, Italy.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: crhutchi{at} (C.R.H.); john.vederas{at} (J.C.V.)

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