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2017
Li, J, Tang XY, Awakawa T, Moore BS.  2017.  Enzymatic C-H Oxidation-Amidation Cascade in the Production of Natural and Unnatural Thiotetronate Antibiotics with Potentiated Bioactivity. Angewandte Chemie-International Edition. 56:12234-12239.   10.1002/anie.201705239   AbstractWebsite

The selective activation of unreactive hydrocarbons by biosynthetic enzymes has inspired new synthetic methods in C-H bond activation. Herein, we report the unprecedented two-step biosynthetic conversion of thiotetromycin to thiotetroamideC involving the tandem oxidation and amidation of an unreactive ethyl group. We detail the genetic and biochemical basis for the terminal amidation in thiotetroamideC biosynthesis, which involves a uniquely adapted cytochrome P450-amidotransferase enzyme pair and highlights the first oxidation-amidation enzymatic cascade reaction leading to the selective formation of a primary amide group from a chemically inert alkyl group. Motivated by the ten-fold increase in antibiotic potency of thiotetroamideC ascribed to the acetamide group and the unusual enzymology involved, we enzymatically interrogated diverse thiolactomycin analogues and prepared an unnatural thiotetroamideC analogue with potentiated bioactivity compared to the parent molecule.

Letzel, AC, Li J, Amos GCA, Millan-Aguinaga N, Ginigini J, Abdelmohsen UR, Gaudencio SP, Ziemert N, Moore BS, Jensen PR.  2017.  Genomic insights into specialized metabolism in the marine actinomycete Salinispora. Environmental Microbiology. 19:3660-3673.   10.1111/1462-2920.13867   AbstractWebsite

Comparative genomics is providing new opportunities to address the diversity and distributions of genes encoding the biosynthesis of specialized metabolites. An analysis of 119 genome sequences representing three closely related species of the marine actinomycete genus Salinispora reveals extraordinary biosynthetic diversity in the form of 176 distinct biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) of which only 24 have been linked to their products. Remarkably, more than half of the BGCs were observed in only one or two strains, suggesting they were acquired relatively recently in the evolutionary history of the genus. These acquired gene clusters are concentrated in specific genomic islands, which represent hot spots for BGC acquisition. While most BGCs are stable in terms of their chromosomal position, others migrated to different locations or were exchanged with unrelated gene clusters suggesting a plug and play type model of evolution that provides a mechanism to test the relative fitness effects of specialized metabolites. Transcriptome analyses were used to address the relationships between BGC abundance, chromosomal position and product discovery. The results indicate that recently acquired BGCs can be functional and that complex evolutionary processes shape the micro-diversity of specialized metabolism observed in closely related environmental bacteria.

Tang, XY, Li J, Moore BS.  2017.  Minimization of the thiolactomycin biosynthetic pathway reveals that the cytochrome p450 enzyme tlmf is required for five-membered thiolactone ring formation. Chembiochem. 18:1072-1076.   10.1002/cbic.201700090   AbstractWebsite

Thiolactomycin (TLM) belongs to a class of rare and unique thiotetronate antibiotics that inhibit bacterial fatty acid synthesis. Although this group of natural product antibiotics was first discovered over 30 years ago, the study of TLM biosynthesis remains in its infancy. We recently discovered the biosynthetic gene cluster (BGC) for TLM from the marine bacterium Salinispora pacifica CNS-863. Here, we report the investigation of TLM biosynthetic logic through mutagenesis and comparative metabolic analyses. Our results revealed that only four genes (tlmF, tlmG, tlmH, and tlmI) are required for the construction of the characteristic -thiolactone skeleton of this class of antibiotics. We further showed that the cytochrome P450 TlmF does not directly participate in sulfur insertion and C-S bond formation chemistry but rather in the construction of the five-membered thiolactone ring as, upon its deletion, we observed the alternative production of the six-membered -thiolactomycin. Our findings pave the way for future biochemical investigation of the biosynthesis of this structurally unique group of thiotetronic acid natural products.

Agarwal, V, Miles ZD, Winter JM, Eustaquio AS, El Gamal AA, Moore BS.  2017.  Enzymatic halogenation and dehalogenation reactions: Pervasive and mechanistically diverse. Chemical Reviews. 117:5619-5674.   10.1021/acs.chemrev.6b00571   AbstractWebsite

Naturally produced halogenated compounds are ubiquitous across all domains of life where they perform a multitude of biological functions and adopt a diversity of chemical structures. Accordingly, a diverse collection of enzyme catalysts to install and remove halogens from organic scaffolds has evolved in nature. Accounting for the different chemical properties of the four halogen atoms (fluorine, chlorine, bromine, and iodine) and the diversity and chemical reactivity of their organic substrates, enzymes performing biosynthetic and degradative halogenation chemistry utilize numerous mechanistic strategies involving oxidation, reduction, and substitution. Biosynthetic halogenation reactions range from simple aromatic substitutions to stereoselective C-H functionalizations on remote carbon centers and can initiate the formation of simple to complex ring structures. Dehalogenating enzymes, on the other hand, are best known for removing halogen atoms from man-made organohalogens, yet also function naturally, albeit rarely, in metabolic pathways. This review details the scope and mechanism of nature's halogenation and dehalogenation enzymatic strategies, highlights gaps in our understanding, and posits where new advances in the field might arise in the near future.

Larson, CB, Crusemann M, Moore BS.  2017.  PCR-independent method of transformation-associated recombination reveals the cosmomycin biosynthetic gene cluster in an ocean streptomycete. Journal of Natural Products. 80:1200-1204.   10.1021/acs.jnatprod.6b01121   AbstractWebsite

The transformation-associated recombination cloning methodology facilitates the genomic capture and heterologous expression of natural product biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs). We have streamlined this procedure by introduction of synthetic DNA gene blocks for the efficient capture of BGCs. We show the successful capture and expression of the aromatic polyketide antitumor agent cosmomycin from streptomycete bacteria and the discovery of new cosmomycin analogues by mass spectral molecular networking.

Agarwal, V, Blanton JM, Podell S, Taton A, Schorn MA, Busch J, Lin Z, Schmidt EW, Jensen PR, Paul VJ, Biggs JS, Golden JW, Allen EE, Moore BS.  2017.  Metagenomic discovery of polybrominated diphenyl ether biosynthesis by marine sponges. Nat Chem Biol. advance online publication: Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited. All Rights Reserved.   10.1038/nchembio.2330   Abstract

Naturally produced polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) pervade the marine environment and structurally resemble toxic man-made brominated flame retardants. PBDEs bioaccumulate in marine animals and are likely transferred to the human food chain. However, the biogenic basis for PBDE production in one of their most prolific sources, marine sponges of the order Dysideidae, remains unidentified. Here, we report the discovery of PBDE biosynthetic gene clusters within sponge-microbiome-associated cyanobacterial endosymbionts through the use of an unbiased metagenome-mining approach. Using expression of PBDE biosynthetic genes in heterologous cyanobacterial hosts, we correlate the structural diversity of naturally produced PBDEs to modifications within PBDE biosynthetic gene clusters in multiple sponge holobionts. Our results establish the genetic and molecular foundation for the production of PBDEs in one of the most abundant natural sources of these molecules, further setting the stage for a metagenomic-based inventory of other PBDE sources in the marine environment.

Crusemann, M, O'Neill EC, Larson CB, Melnik AV, Floros DJ, da Silva RR, Jensen PR, Dorrestein PC, Moore BS.  2017.  Prioritizing natural product diversity in a collection of 146 bacterial strains based on growth and extraction protocols. Journal of Natural Products. 80:588-597.   10.1021/acsjnatprod.6b00722   AbstractWebsite

In order to expedite the rapid and efficient discovery and isolation of novel specialized metabolites, while minimizing the waste of resources on rediscovery of known compounds, it is crucial to develop efficient approaches for strain prioritization, rapid dereplication, and the assessment of favored cultivation and extraction conditions. Herein we interrogated bacterial strains by systematically evaluating cultivation and extraction parameters with LC-MS/MS analysis and subsequent dereplication through the Global Natural Product Social Molecular Networking (GNPS) platform. The developed method is fast, requiring minimal time and sample material, and is compatible with high throughput extract analysis, thereby streamlining strain prioritization and evaluation of culturing parameters. With this approach, we analyzed 146 marine Salinispora and Streptomyces strains that were grown and extracted using multiple different protocols. In total, 603 samples were analyzed, generating approximately 1.8 million mass spectra. We constructed a comprehensive molecular network and identified 15 molecular families of diverse natural products and their analogues. The size and breadth of this network shows statistically supported trends in molecular diversity when comparing growth and extraction conditions. The network provides an extensive survey of the biosynthetic capacity of the strain collection and a method to compare strains based on the variety and novelty of their metabolites. This approach allows us to quickly identify patterns in metabolite production that can be linked to taxonomy, culture conditions, and extraction methods, as well as informing the most valuable growth and extraction conditions.

Patin, NV, Schorn M, Aguinaldo K, Lincecum T, Moore BS, Jensen PR.  2017.  Effects of actinomycete secondary metabolites on sediment microbial communities. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 83   10.1128/aem.02676-16   Abstract

Marine sediments harbor complex microbial communities that remain poorly studied relative to other biomes such as seawater. Moreover, bacteria in these communities produce antibiotics and other bioactive secondary metabolites, yet little is known about how these compounds affect microbial community structure. In this study, we used next-generation amplicon sequencing to assess native microbial community composition in shallow tropical marine sediments. The results revealed complex communities comprised of largely uncultured taxa, with considerable spatial heterogeneity and known antibiotic producers comprising only a small fraction of the total diversity. Organic extracts from cultured strains of the sedimentdwelling actinomycete genus Salinispora were then used in mesocosm studies to address how secondary metabolites shape sediment community composition. We identified predatory bacteria and other taxa that were consistently reduced in the extract-treated mesocosms, suggesting that they may be the targets of allelopathic interactions. We tested related taxa for extract sensitivity and found general agreement with the culture-independent results. Conversely, several taxa were enriched in the extract-treated mesocosms, suggesting that some bacteria benefited from the interactions. The results provide evidence that bacterial secondary metabolites can have complex and significant effects on sediment microbial communities. IMPORTANCE Ocean sediments represent one of Earth's largest and most poorly studied biomes. These habitats are characterized by complex microbial communities where competition for space and nutrients can be intense. This study addressed the hypothesis that secondary metabolites produced by the sediment-inhabiting actinomycete Salinispora arenicola affect community composition and thus mediate interactions among competing microbes. Next-generation amplicon sequencing of mesocosm experiments revealed complex communities that shifted following exposure to S. arenicola extracts. The results reveal that certain predatory bacteria were consistently less abundant following exposure to extracts, suggesting that microbial metabolites mediate competitive interactions. Other taxa increased in relative abundance, suggesting a benefit from the extracts themselves or the resulting changes in the community. This study takes a first step toward assessing the impacts of bacterial metabolites on sediment microbial communities. The results provide insight into how low-abundance organisms may help structure microbial communities in ocean sediments.

Nguyen, DD, Melnik AV, Koyama N, Lu XW, Schorn M, Fang JS, Aguinaldo K, Lincecum TL, Ghequire MGK, Carrion VJ, Cheng TL, Duggan BM, Malone JG, Mauchline TH, Sanchez LM, Kilpatrick AM, Raaijmakers JM, De Mot R, Moore BS, Medema MH, Dorrestein PC.  2017.  Indexing the Pseudomonas specialized metabolome enabled the discovery of poaeamide B and the bananamides. Nature Microbiology. 2   10.1038/nmicrobiol.2016.197   AbstractWebsite

Pseudomonads are cosmopolitan microorganisms able to produce a wide array of specialized metabolites. These molecules allow Pseudomonas to scavenge nutrients, sense population density and enhance or inhibit growth of competing microorganisms. However, these valuable metabolites are typically characterized one-molecule-one-microbe at a time, instead of being inventoried in large numbers. To index and map the diversity of molecules detected from these organisms, 260 strains of ecologically diverse origins were subjected to mass-spectrometry-based molecular networking. Molecular networking not only enables dereplication of molecules, but also sheds light on their structural relationships. Moreover, it accelerates the discovery of new molecules. Here, by indexing the Pseudomonas specialized metabolome, we report the molecular-networking-based discovery of four molecules and their evolutionary relationships: a poaeamide analogue and a molecular subfamily of cyclic lipopeptides, bananamides 1, 2 and 3. Analysis of their biosynthetic gene cluster shows that it constitutes a distinct evolutionary branch of the Pseudomonas cyclic lipopeptides. Through analysis of an additional 370 extracts of wheat-associated Pseudomonas, we demonstrate how the detailed knowledge from our reference index can be efficiently propagated to annotate complex metabolomic data from other studies, akin to the way in which newly generated genomic information can be compared to data from public databases.

2016
Jordan, PA, Moore BS.  2016.  Biosynthetic pathway connects cryptic ribosomally synthesized posttranslationally modified peptide genes with pyrroloquinoline alkaloids. Cell Chemical Biology. 23:1504-1514.   10.1016/j.chembiol.2016.10.009   AbstractWebsite

In an era where natural product biosynthetic gene clusters can be rapidly identified from sequenced genomes, it is unusual for the biosynthesis of an entire natural product class to remain unknown. Yet, the genetic determinates for pyrroloquinoline alkaloid biosynthesis have remained obscure despite their abundance and deceptive structural simplicity. In this work, we have identified the biosynthetic gene cluster for ammosamides A-C, pyrroloquinoline alkaloids from Streptomyces sp. CNR-698. Through direct cloning, heterologous expression and gene deletions we have validated the ammosamide biosynthetic gene cluster and demonstrated that these seemingly simple molecules are derived from a surprisingly complex set of biosynthetic genes that are also found in the biosynthesis of lymphostin, a structurally related pyrroloquinoline alkaloid from Salinispora and Streptomyces. Our results implicate a conserved set of genes driving pyrroloquinoline biosynthesis that consist of genes frequently associated with ribosomal peptide natural product biosynthesis, and whose exact biochemical role remains enigmatic.

Zhang, WP, Lu L, Lai QL, Zhu BK, Li ZR, Xu Y, Shao ZZ, Herrup K, Moore BS, Ross AC, Qian PY.  2016.  Family-wide structural characterization and genomic comparisons decode the diversity-oriented biosynthesis of thalassospiramides by marine proteobacteria. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 291:27228-+.   10.1074/jbc.M116.756858   AbstractWebsite

The thalassospiramide lipopeptides have great potential for therapeutic applications; however, their structural and functional diversity and biosynthesis are poorly understood. Here, by cultivating 130 Rhodospirillaceae strains sampled from oceans worldwide, we discovered 21 new thalassospiramide analogues and demonstrated their neuroprotective effects. To investigate the diversity of biosynthetic gene cluster (BGC) architectures, we sequenced the draft genomes of 28 Rhodospirillaceae strains. Our family-wide genomic analysis revealed three types of dysfunctional BGCs and four functional BGCs whose architectures correspond to four production patterns. This correlation allowed us to reassess the "diversity-oriented biosynthesis" proposed for the microbial production of thalassospiramides, which involves iteration of several key modules. Preliminary evolutionary investigation suggested that the functional BGCs could have arisen through module/domain loss, whereas the dysfunctional BGCs arose through horizontal gene transfer. Further comparative genomics indicated that thalassospiramide production is likely to be attendant on particular genes/pathways for amino acid metabolism, signaling transduction, and compound efflux. Our findings provide a systematic understanding of thalassospiramide production and new insights into the underlying mechanism.

Schorn, MA, Alanjary MM, Aguinaldo K, Korobeynikov A, Podell S, Patin N, Lincecum T, Jensen PR, Ziemert N, Moore BS.  2016.  Sequencing rare marine actinomycete genomes reveals high density of unique natural product biosynthetic gene clusters. Microbiology-Sgm. 162:2075-2086.   10.1099/mic.0.000386   AbstractWebsite

Traditional natural product discovery methods have nearly exhausted the accessible diversity of microbial chemicals, making new sources and techniques paramount in the search for new molecules. Marine actinomycete bacteria have recently come into the spotlight as fruitful producers of structurally diverse secondary metabolites, and remain relatively untapped. In this study, we sequenced 21 marine-derived actinomycete strains, rarely studied for their secondary metabolite potential and under-represented in current genomic databases. We found that genome size and phylogeny were good predictors of biosynthetic gene cluster diversity, with larger genomes rivalling the well-known marine producers in the Streptomyces and Salinispora genera. Genomes in the Micrococcineae suborder, however, had consistently the lowest number of biosynthetic gene clusters. By networking individual gene clusters into gene cluster families, we were able to computationally estimate the degree of novelty each genus contributed to the current sequence databases. Based on the similarity measures between all actinobacteria in the Joint Genome Institute's Atlas of Biosynthetic gene Clusters database, rare marine genera show a high degree of novelty and diversity, with Corynebacterium, Gordonia, Nocardiopsis, Saccharomonospora and Pseudonocardia genera representing the highest gene cluster diversity. This research validates that rare marine actinomycetes are important candidates for exploration, as they are relatively unstudied, and their relatives are historically rich in secondary metabolites.

Groenhagen, U, De Oliveira ALL, Fielding E, Moore BS, Schulz S.  2016.  Coupled biosynthesis of volatiles and salinosporamideA in Salinispora tropica. Chembiochem. 17:1978-1985.   10.1002/cbic.201600388   AbstractWebsite

Terrestrial bacteria, especially actinomycetes, are known to be prolific producers of volatile compounds. We show here that bacteria from ocean sediments can also release complex bouquets of volatiles. The actinomycete Salinispora tropica produces cyclohexenyl compounds not previously known in nature, such as methyl cyclohex-2-ene-1-carboxylate (9), methyl 2-(cyclohex-2-en-1-yl)acetate (10), methyl (E/Z)-2-(cyclohex-2-en-1-ylidene)acetate (11/12), and related alcohols 8 and 13. These compounds were identified by GC/MS and confirmed by synthesis. In addition, rare spiroacetals, aromatic compounds, short-chain acids and esters, alcohols, and various cyclic compounds were produced by the bacteria. The biosynthesis of the cyclohexenyl compounds is closely coupled to that of cyclohexenylalanine (4), a building block of salinosporamideA, a proteasome inhibitor produced by S.tropica. Analysis of S.tropica strains that harbor knockouts of the salinosporamide biosynthetic genes salX and salD, coupled with feeding experiments, revealed that 3-(cyclohex-2-en-1-yl)-2-oxopropanoic acid (60) and 3-(cyclohex-2-en-1-ylidene)-2-oxopropanoic acid (isomers 61 and 62) are important intermediates in the biosynthesis of salinosporamideA, 4, and 8-13.

Li, ZR, Li J, Gu JP, Lai JYH, Duggan BM, Zhang WP, Li ZL, Li YX, Tong RB, Xu Y, Lin DH, Moore BS, Qian PY.  2016.  Divergent biosynthesis yields a cytotoxic aminomalonate-containing precolibactin. Nature Chemical Biology. 12:773-+.   10.1038/nchembio.2157   AbstractWebsite

Colibactin is an as-yet-uncharacterized genotoxic secondary metabolite produced by human gut bacteria. Here we report the biosynthetic discovery of two new precolibactin molecules from Escherichia coli, including precolibactin-886, which uniquely incorporates the highly sought genotoxicity-associated aminomalonate building block into its unprecedented macrocyclic structure. This work provides new insights into the biosynthetic logic and mode of action of this colorectal-cancer-linked microbial chemical.

Elgamal, A, Agarwal V, Rahman I, Moore BS.  2016.  Enzymatic reductive dehalogenation controls the biosynthesis of marine bacterial pyrroles. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 138:13167-13170.   10.1021/jacs.6b08512   AbstractWebsite

Enzymes capable of performing dehalogenating reactions have attracted tremendous contemporary attention due to their potential application in the bioremediation of anthropogenic polyhalogenated persistent organic pollutants. Nature, in particular the marine environment, is also a prolific source of polyhalogenated organic natural products. The study of the biosynthesis of these natural products has furnished a diverse array of halogenation biocatalysts, but thus far no examples of dehalogenating enzymes have been reported from a secondary metabolic pathway. Here we show that the penultimate step in the biosynthesis of the highly brominated marine bacterial product pentabromopseudilin is catalyzed by an unusual debrominase Bmp8 that utilizes a redox thiol mechanism to remove the C-2 bromine atom of 2,3,4,5-tetrabromopyrrole to facilitate oxidative coupling to 2,4-dibromophenol. To the best of our knowledge, Bmp8 is first example of a dehalogenating enzyme from the established genetic and biochemical context of a natural product biosynthetic pathway.

Wang, MX, Carver JJ, Phelan VV, Sanchez LM, Garg N, Peng Y, Nguyen DD, Watrous J, Kapono CA, Luzzatto-Knaan T et al..  2016.  Sharing and community curation of mass spectrometry data with Global Natural Products Social Molecular Networking. Nature Biotechnology. 34:828-837.   10.1038/nbt.3597   AbstractWebsite

The potential of the diverse chemistries present in natural products (NP) for biotechnology and medicine remains untapped because NP databases are not searchable with raw data and the NP community has no way to share data other than in published papers. Although mass spectrometry (MS) techniques are well-suited to high-throughput characterization of NP, there is a pressing need for an infrastructure to enable sharing and curation of data. We present Global Natural Products Social Molecular Networking (GNPS; http://gnps.ucsd.edu), an open-access knowledge base for community-wide organization and sharing of raw, processed or identified tandem mass (MS/MS) spectrometry data. In GNPS, crowdsourced curation of freely available community-wide reference MS libraries will underpin improved annotations. Data-driven social-networking should facilitate identification of spectra and foster collaborations. We also introduce the concept of 'living data' through continuous reanalysis of deposited data.

Elgamal, A, Agarwal V, Diethelm S, Rahman I, Schorn MA, Sneed JM, Louie GV, Whalen KE, Mincer TJ, Noel JP, Paul VJ, Moore BS.  2016.  Biosynthesis of coral settlement cue tetrabromopyrrole in marine bacteria by a uniquely adapted brominase-thioesterase enzyme pair. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 113:3797-3802.   10.1073/pnas.1519695113   AbstractWebsite

Halogenated pyrroles (halopyrroles) are common chemical moieties found in bioactive bacterial natural products. The halopyrrole moieties of mono-and dihalopyrrole-containing compounds arise from a conserved mechanism in which a proline-derived pyrrolyl group bound to a carrier protein is first halogenated and then elaborated by peptidic or polyketide extensions. This paradigm is broken during the marine pseudoalteromonad bacterial biosynthesis of the coral larval settlement cue tetrabromopyrrole (1), which arises from the substitution of the proline-derived carboxylate by a bromine atom. To understand the molecular basis for decarboxylative bromination in the biosynthesis of 1, we sequenced two Pseudoalteromonas genomes and identified a conserved four-gene locus encoding the enzymes involved in its complete biosynthesis. Through total in vitro reconstitution of the biosynthesis of 1 using purified enzymes and biochemical interrogation of individual biochemical steps, we show that all four bromine atoms in 1 are installed by the action of a single flavin-dependent halogenase: Bmp2. Tetrabromination of the pyrrole induces a thioesterase-mediated offloading reaction from the carrier protein and activates the biosynthetic intermediate for decarboxylation. Insights into the tetrabrominating activity of Bmp2 were obtained from the high-resolution crystal structure of the halogenase contrasted against structurally homologous halogenase Mpy16 that forms only a dihalogenated pyrrole in marinopyrrole biosynthesis. Structure-guided mutagenesis of the proposed substrate- binding pocket of Bmp2 led to a reduction in the degree of halogenation catalyzed. Our study provides a biogenetic basis for the biosynthesis of 1 and sets a firm foundation for querying the biosynthetic potential for the production of 1 in marine (meta) genomes.

Teufel, R, Agarwal V, Moore BS.  2016.  Unusual flavoenzyme catalysis in marine bacteria. Current Opinion in Chemical Biology. 31:31-39.   10.1016/j.clopa.2016.01.001   AbstractWebsite

Ever since the discovery of the flavin cofactor more than 80 years ago, flavin-dependent enzymes have emerged as ubiquitous and versatile redox catalysts in primary metabolism. Yet, the recent advances in the discovery and characterization of secondary metabolic pathways exposed new roles for flavin-mediated catalysis in the generation of structurally complex natural products. Here, we review a selection of key biosynthetic flavoenzymes from marine bacterial secondary metabolism and illustrate how their functional and mechanistic investigation expanded our view of the cofactor's chemical repertoire and led to the discovery of a previously unknown flavin redox state.

Harvey, EL, Deering RW, Rowley DC, Elgamal A, Schorn M, Moore BS, Johnson MD, Mincer TJ, Whalen KE.  2016.  A bacterial quorum-sensing precursor induces mortality in the marine coccolithophore, Emiliania huxleyi. Frontiers in Microbiology. 7   10.3389/fmicb.2016.00059   AbstractWebsite

Interactions between phytoplankton and bacteria play a central role in mediating biogeochemical cycling and food web structure in the ocean. However, deciphering the chemical drivers of these interspecies interactions remains challenging. Here, we report the isolation of 2-heptyl-4-quinolone (HHQ), released by Pseudoalteromonas piscicida, a marine gamma-proteobacteria previously reported to induce phytoplankton mortality through a hitherto unknown algicidal mechanism. HHQ functions as both an antibiotic and a bacterial signaling molecule in cell cell communication in clinical infection models. Co -culture of the bloom -forming coccolithophore, Emiliania huxleyi with both live P piscicida and cell -free filtrates caused a significant decrease in algal growth. Investigations of the P piscicida exometabolome revealed HHQ, at nanomolar concentrations, induced mortality in three strains of E. huxleyi. Mortality of E. huxleyi in response to HHQ occurred slowly, implying static growth rather than a singular loss event (e.g., rapid cell lysis). In contrast, the marine chlorophyte, Dunaliella tertiolecta and diatom, Phaeodactylum tricornutum were unaffected by HHQ exposures. These results suggest that HHQ mediates the type of inter -domain interactions that cause shifts in phytoplankton population dynamics. These chemically

Cha, JY, Han S, Hong HJ, Cho H, Kim D, Kwon Y, Kwon SK, Crusemann M, Lee YB, Kim JF, Giaever G, Nislow C, Moore BS, Thomashow LS, Weller DM, Kwak YS.  2016.  Microbial and biochemical basis of a Fusarium wilt-suppressive soil. Isme Journal. 10:119-129.   10.1038/ismej.2015.95   AbstractWebsite

Crops lack genetic resistance to most necrotrophic pathogens. To compensate for this disadvantage, plants recruit antagonistic members of the soil microbiome to defend their roots against pathogens and other pests. The best examples of this microbially based defense of roots are observed in disease-suppressive soils in which suppressiveness is induced by continuously growing crops that are susceptible to a pathogen, but the molecular basis of most is poorly understood. Here we report the microbial characterization of a Korean soil with specific suppressiveness to Fusarium wilt of strawberry. In this soil, an attack on strawberry roots by Fusarium oxysporum results in a response by microbial defenders, of which members of the Actinobacteria appear to have a key role. We also identify Streptomyces genes responsible for the ribosomal synthesis of a novel heat-stable antifungal thiopeptide antibiotic inhibitory to F. oxysporum and the antibiotic's mode of action against fungal cell wall biosynthesis. Both classical-and community-oriented approaches were required to dissect this suppressive soil from the field to the molecular level, and the results highlight the role of natural antibiotics as weapons in the microbial warfare in the rhizosphere that is integral to plant health, vigor and development.

Ray, L, Yamanaka K, Moore BS.  2016.  A peptidyl-transesterifying type I thioesterase in salinamide biosynthesis. Angewandte Chemie-International Edition. 55:364-367.   10.1002/anie.201508576   AbstractWebsite

Salinamide A belongs to a rare class of bicyclic depsipeptide antibiotics in which the installation of a (4-methylhexa-2,4-dienoyl) glycine handle across a hexadepsipeptide core contributes to its chemical complexity and biological properties. Herein, we report the genetic and biochemical basis for salinamide construction in the marine bacterium Streptomyces sp. CNB-091, which involves a novel intermolecular transesterification reaction catalyzed by a type I thioesterase. Heterologous expression studies revealed the central role of the nonribosomal peptide synthetase Sln9 in constructing and installing the distinctive acylglycine "basket handle" of salinamide. Biochemical characterization of the Sln9 thioesterase domain established that transesterification of the serine residue of desmethylsalinamide E with acylated glycyl thioesters yields desmethylsalinamide C.

2015
Tang, XY, Li J, Millan-Aguinaga N, Zhang JJ, O'Neill EC, Ugalde JA, Jensen PR, Mantovani SM, Moore BS.  2015.  Identification of thiotetronic acid antibiotic biosynthetic pathways by target-directed genome mining. Acs Chemical Biology. 10:2841-2849.   10.1021/acschembio.5b00658   AbstractWebsite

Recent genome sequencing efforts have led to the rapid accumulation of uncharacterized or "orphaned" secondary metabolic biosynthesis gene clusters (BGCs) in public databases. This increase in DNA-sequenced big data has given rise to significant challenges in the applied field of natural product genome mining, including (i) how to prioritize the characterization of orphan BGCs and (ii) how to rapidly connect genes to biosynthesized small molecules. Here, we show that by correlating putative antibiotic resistance genes that encode target-modified proteins with orphan BGCs, we predict the biological function of pathway specific small molecules before they have been revealed in a process we call target-directed genome mining. By querying the pan-genome of 86 Salinispora bacterial genomes for duplicated house-keeping genes colocalized with natural product BGCs, we prioritized an orphan polyketide synthase-nonribosomal peptide synthetase hybrid BGC (tlm) with a putative fatty acid synthase resistance gene. We employed a new synthetic double-stranded DNA-mediated cloning strategy based on transformation-associated recombination to efficiently capture tlm and the related Mu BGCs directly from genomic DNA and to heterologously express them in Streptomyces hosts. We show the production of a group of unusual thiotetronic acid natural products, including the well-known fatty acid synthase inhibitor thiolactomycin that was first described over 30 years ago, yet never at the genetic level in regards to biosynthesis and autoresistance. This finding not only validates the target-directed genome mining strategy for the discovery of antibiotic producing gene clusters without a priori knowledge of the molecule synthesized but also paves the way for the investigation of novel: enzymology involved in thiotetronic, acid natural product biosynthesis.

Agarwal, V, Diethelm S, Ray L, Garg N, Awakawa T, Dorrestein PC, Moore BS.  2015.  Chemoenzymatic synthesis of acyl coenzyme a substrates enables in situ labeling of small molecules and proteins. Organic Letters. 17:4452-4455.   10.1021/acs.orglett.5b02113   AbstractWebsite

A chemoenzymatic approach to generate fully functional acyl coenzyme A molecules that are then used as substrates to drive in situ acyl transfer reactions is described. Mass spectrometry based assays to verify the identity of acyl coenzyme A enzymatic products are also illustrated. The approach is responsive to a diverse array of carboxylic acids that can be elaborated to their corresponding coenzyme A thioesters, with potential applications in wide-ranging chemical biology studies that utilize acyl coenzyme A substrates.

Kim, E, Moore BS, Yoon YJ.  2015.  Reinvigorating natural product combinatorial biosynthesis with synthetic biology. Nature Chemical Biology. 11:649-659.   10.1038/nchembio.1893   AbstractWebsite

Natural products continue to play a pivotal role in drug-discovery efforts and in the understanding if human health. The ability to extend nature's chemistry through combinatorial biosynthesis-altering functional groups, regiochemistry and scaffold backbones through the manipulation of biosynthetic enzymes-offers unique opportunities to create natural product analogs. Incorporating emerging synthetic biology techniques has the potential to further accelerate the refinement of combinatorial biosynthesis as a robust platform for the diversification of natural chemical drug leads. Two decades after the field originated, we discuss the current limitations, the realities and the state of the art of combinatorial biosynthesis, including the engineering of substrate specificity of biosynthetic enzymes and the development of heterologous expression systems for biosynthetic pathways. We also propose a new perspective for the combinatorial biosynthesis of natural products that could reinvigorate drug discovery by using synthetic biology in combination with synthetic chemistry.

Teufel, R, Stull F, Meehan MJ, Michaudel Q, Dorrestein PC, Palfey B, Moore BS.  2015.  Biochemical establishment and characterization of EncM's flavin-N5-oxide cofactor. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 137:8078-8085.   10.1021/jacs.5b03983   AbstractWebsite

The ubiquitous flavin-dependent monooxygenases commonly catalyze oxygenation reactions by means of a transient C4a-peroxyflavin. A recent study, however, suggested an unprecedented flavin-oxygenating species, proposed as the flavin-N5-oxide (Fl(N5[O])), as key to an oxidative Favorskii-type rearrangement in the biosynthesis of the bacterial polyketide antibiotic enterocin. This stable superoxidized flavin is covalently tethered to the enzyme EncM and converted into FADH(2) (Fl(red)) during substrate turnover. Subsequent reaction of Flred with molecular oxygen restores the postulated Fl(N5[O]) via an unknown pathway. Here, we provide direct evidence for the Fl(N5[O]) species via isotope labeling, proteolytic digestion, and high-resolution tandem mass spectrometry of EncM. We propose that formation of this species occurs by hydrogen-transfer from Fl(red) to molecular oxygen, allowing radical coupling of the formed protonated superoxide and anionic flavin semiquinone at N5, before elimination of water affords the Fl(N5[O]) cofactor. Further biochemical and spectroscopic investigations reveal important features of the Fl(N5[O]) species and the EncM catalytic mechanism. We speculate that flavin-N5-oxides may be intermediates or catalytically active species in other flavoproteins that form the anionic semiquinone and promote access of oxygen to N5.