The microbial metabolites known as the macrolides are some of the most successful natural products used to treat infectious and immune diseases. Describing the structures of these complex metabolites, however, is often extremely difficult due to the presence of multiple stereogenic centers inherent in this class of polyketide-derived metabolites. With the availability of genome sequence data and a better understanding of the molecular genetics of natural product biosynthesis, it is now possible to use bioinformatic approaches in tandem with spectroscopic tools to assign the full stereostructures of these complex metabolites. In our quest to discover and develop new agents for the treatment of cancer, we observed the production of a highly cytotoxic macrolide, neaumycin B, by a marine-derived actinomycete bacterium of the genus Micromonospora. Neaumycin B is a complex polycyclic macrolide possessing 19 asymmetric centers, usually requiring selective degradation, crystallization, derivatization, X-ray diffraction analysis, synthesis, or other time-consuming approaches to assign the complete stereostructure. As an alternative approach, we sequenced the genome of the producing strain and identified the neaumycin gene cluster ( neu). By integrating the known stereospecificities of biosynthetic enzymes with comprehensive NMR analysis, the full stereostructure of neaumycin B was confidently assigned. This approach exemplifies how mining gene cluster information while integrating NMR-based structure data can achieve rapid, efficient, and accurate stereostructural assignments for complex macrolides.
Journal: Journal of the American chemical society