Combinatorial biosynthesis of novel secondary metabolites derived from nonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPSs) has been in slow development for about a quarter of a century. Progress has been hampered by the complexity of the giant multimodular multienzymes. More recently, advances have been made on understanding the chemical and structural biology of these complex megaenzymes, and on learning the design rules for engineering functional hybrid enzymes. In this perspective, I address what has been learned about successful engineering of complex lipopeptides related to daptomycin, and discuss how synthetic biology and microbial genome mining can converge to broaden the scope and enhance the speed and robustness of combinatorial biosynthesis of NRPS-derived natural products for drug discovery.
Journal: Journal of industrial microbiology & biotechnology