Actinobacteria possess a great wealth of pathways for production of bioactive compounds. Following advances in genome mining, dozens of natural product (NP) gene clusters are routinely found in each actinobacterial genome; however, the modus operandi of this large arsenal is poorly understood. During investigations of the secondary metabolome of Streptomyces rapamycinicus, the producer of rapamycin, we observed accumulation of two compounds never before reported from this organism. Structural elucidation revealed actinoplanic acid A and its demethyl analogue. Actinoplanic acids (APLs) are potent inhibitors of Ras farnesyltransferase and therefore represent bioactive compounds of medicinal interest. Supported with the unique structure of these polyketides and using genome mining, we identified a gene cluster responsible for their biosynthesis in S. rapamycinicus Based on experimental evidence and genetic organization of the cluster, we propose a stepwise biosynthesis of APL, the first bacterial example of a pathway incorporating the rare tricarballylic moiety into an NP. Although phylogenetically distant, the pathway shares some of the biosynthetic principles with the mycotoxins fumonisins. Namely, the core polyketide is acylated with the tricarballylate by an atypical nonribosomal peptide synthetase-catalyzed ester formation. Finally, motivated by the conserved colocalization of the rapamycin and APL pathway clusters in S. rapamycinicus and all other rapamycin-producing actinobacteria, we confirmed a strong synergism of these compounds in antifungal assays. Mining for such evolutionarily conserved coharboring of pathways would likely reveal further examples of NP sets, attacking multiple targets on the same foe. These could then serve as a guide for development of new combination therapies.© 2018 Mrak et al.
Journal: The Journal of biological chemistry