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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.

Miyanaga, A, Janso JE, McDonald L, He M, Liu HB, Barbieri L, Eustaquio AS, Fielding EN, Carter GT, Jensen PR, Feng XD, Leighton M, Koehn FE, Moore BS.  2011.  Discovery and Assembly-Line Biosynthesis of the Lymphostin Pyrroloquinoline Alkaloid Family of mTOR Inhibitors in Salinispora Bacteria. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 133:13311-13313.   10.1021/ja205655w   AbstractWebsite

The pyrroloquinoline alkaloid family of natural products, which includes the immunosuppressant lymphostin, has long been postulated to arise from tryptophan. We now report the molecular basis of lymphostin biosynthesis in three marine Salinispora species that maintain conserved biosynthetic gene clusters harboring a hybrid nonribosomal peptide synthetase-polyketide synthase that is central to lymphostin assembly. Through a series of experiments involving gene mutations, stable isotope profiling, and natural product discovery, we report the assembly-line biosynthesis of lymphostin and nine new analogues that exhibit potent mTOR inhibitory activity.