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Kumar, A, Borgen M, Aluwihare LI, Fenical W.  2017.  Ozone-activated halogenation of mono- and dimethylbipyrrole in seawater. Environmental Science & Technology. 51:589-595.   10.1021/acs.est.6b03601   AbstractWebsite

Polyhalogenated N-methylbipyrroles of two different structure classes have been detected worldwide in over 100 environmental samples including seawater, bird eggs, fish, dolphin blubber, and in the breast milk of humans that consume seafood. These molecules are concentrated in the fatty tissues in comparable abundance to some of the most important anthropogenic contaminants, such as the halogenated flame-retardants and pesticides. Although the origin of these compounds is still unknown, we present evidence that the production of these materials can involve the direct ozone activated seawater halogenation of N-methylbipyrrole precursors. This observation shows that environmental polyhalogenated bipyrroles can be produced via an abiotic process, and implies that the ozone activated halogenation of a variety of natural and anthropogenic seawater organics may be a significant process occurring in surface ocean waters.

Beuzer, P, Axelrod J, Trzoss L, Fenical W, Dasari R, Evidente A, Kornienko A, Cang H, La Clair JJ.  2016.  Single dish gradient screening of small molecule localization. Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry. 14:8241-8245.   10.1039/c6ob01418f   AbstractWebsite

Understanding trafficking in cells and tissues is one of the most critical steps in exploring the mechanisms and modes of action (MOAs) of a small molecule. Typically, deciphering the role of concentration presents one of the most difficult challenges associated with this task. Herein, we present a practical solution to this problem by developing concentration gradients within single dishes of cells. We demonstrate the method by evaluating fluorescently-labelled probes developed from two classes of natural products that have been identified as potential anti-cancer leads by STORM super-resolution microscopy.

La Clair, JJ, Fenical W, Costa-Lotufo LV.  2016.  Elucidating the mode of action of marine natural products through an immunoaffinity fluorescent (iaf) approach. Journal of the Brazilian Chemical Society. 27:1346-1354.   10.5935/0103-5053.20160148   AbstractWebsite

Understanding the target and mode of action (MOA) of small molecules activity has become a critical feature in guiding the transition between drug discovery and clinical evaluation. While classically placed at the latter stages of a discovery program, we now describe how addressing the mode of action of natural products at the early stages of a program provides an important vehicle to inform the drug discovery process. In this review, we outline a streamlined cellular and molecular biological system and explore its utility through a series of four cases studies. We believe that this approach offers critical lessons to guide future drug discovery programs.

Zhou, XF, Fenical W.  2016.  The unique chemistry and biology of the piericidins. Journal of Antibiotics. 69:582-593.   10.1038/ja.2016.7   AbstractWebsite

The piericidin family of microbial metabolites features a 4-pyridinol core linked with a methylated polyketide side chain. Piericidins are exclusively produced by actinomycetes, especially members of the genus Streptomyces. The close structural similarity with coenzyme Q renders the piericidins important NADH-ubiquinone oxidoreductase (complex I) inhibitors in the mitochondria! electron transport chain. Because of the significant activities of the piericidins, which include insecticidal, antimicrobial and antitumor effects, total syntheses of the piericidins were developed using various synthetic strategies. The biosynthetic origin of this class has also been the subject of investigation. This review covers the isolation and structure determination of the natural piericidins, their chemical modification, the total syntheses of natural and unnatural analogs, their biosynthesis, and reported biological activities together with structure-activity relationships. Given the fundamental biology of this class of metabolites, the piericidin family will likely continue to attract attention as biological probes of important biosynthetic processes.

Hassan, HM, Boonlarppradab C, Fenical W.  2016.  Actinoquinolines A and B, anti-inflammatory quinoline alkaloids from a marine-derived Streptomyces sp., strain CNP975. Journal of Antibiotics. 69:511-514.   10.1038/ja.2016.56   AbstractWebsite

Actinomycete bacteria of the common genus Streptomyces can be routinely isolated from shallow and deep ocean sediments. Although commonly considered a terrestrial genus, and most abundantly found in soil, Streptomyces strains are found that have distinct requirements for seawater and routinely do not show significant similarity, with terrestrial strains by 16S ribosomal DNA phylogenetic sequence comparisons. Our examination of the culture broth of a Streptomyces sp., strain CNP975, isolated from a local La Jolla, California sediment sample, resulted in the isolation of actinoquinolines A and B (1, 2), which show significant inhibition of the arachidonic acid pathway enzymes cyclooxygenases-1 and -2. The new compounds contain the 3-hydroxyquinaldic acid (3HQA) motif found in numerous peptide antibiotics. In the actinoquinolines, 3HQA forms an amide linkage with a linear six-carbon fragment, formally a 2, 6-diamino-1, 5-dihydroxyhexane unit, a component of likely amino acid reductive off-loading origin. Actinoquinoline A illustrated amide rotational isomerism leading to complex NMR spectral data. Actinoquinoline B was assigned as the C-13 aldehyde analog isolated as an intramolecular hemiacetal. Reduction of 2 with NaBH4 yielded actinoquinoline A thus confirming the relative configurations of all centers in the actinoquinolines.

Le, TC, Yang I, Yoon YJ, Nam SJ, Fenical W.  2016.  Ansalactams B-D illustrate further biosynthetic plasticity within the ansamycin pathway. Organic Letters. 18:2256-2259.   10.1021/acs.orglett.6b00892   AbstractWebsite

Further chemical investigation of a marine-derived bacterium of the genus Streptomyces has led to the isolation of ansalactams B-D (1-3) along with the previously reported metabolite ansalactam A (4). Ansalactams B-D are significantly modified ansamycins, representing three new carbon skeletons and further illustrating the biosynthetic plasticity of the ansalactam class. Unlike ansalactam A, ansalactams B and D are penta- and hexacyclic metabolites, while ansalactam C illustrates an open polyene chain with a terminal carboxylic acid.

Lee, J, Han C, Lee TG, Chin J, Choi H, Lee W, Paik MJ, Won DH, Jeong G, Ko J, Yoong YJ, Nam SJ, Fenical W, Kang H.  2016.  Marinopyrones A-D, alpha-pyrones from marine-derived actinomycetes of the family Nocardiopsaceae. Tetrahedron Letters. 57:1997-2000.   10.1016/j.tetlet.2016.03.084   AbstractWebsite

Two actinomycetes, a member of the rare halophilic genus Streptomonospora and a Nocardiopsis sp. (Nocardiopsaceae), strains CNQ-082 and CNQ-675, respectively, were isolated from marine sediments collected off shore near La Jolla, California. HPLC-UV guided fractionations of the extracts of these strains yielded marinopyrones A-D (1-4), the structures of which were elucidated by interpretation of 1D and 2D NMR and HRMS spectroscopic data. Oxidative ozonation, followed by conversion of the acid product to an alpha-naphthyl amide, provided the absolute configuration at the chiral center on the side-chain. Marinopyrones A-D were examined for the inhibitory activity on nitric oxide production in LPS-activated mouse macrophage cells (RAW 264.7); marinopyrone D (4) was inhibitory with an IC50 value of 13 mu M. To our knowledge, marinopyrones A-C are only the second reported natural products from the rare halophilic genus Streptomonospora. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Ruckert, C, Leipoldt F, Zeyhle P, Fenical W, Jensen PR, Kalinowski J, Heide L, Kaysser L.  2015.  Complete genome sequence of Streptomyces sp CNQ-509, a prolific producer of meroterpenoid chemistry. Journal of Biotechnology. 216:140-141.   10.1016/j.jbiotec.2015.08.009   AbstractWebsite

Streptomyces sp. CNQ-509 is a marine actinomycete belonging to the MAR4 streptomycete lineage. MAR4 strains have been linked to the production of diverse and otherwise rare meroterpenoid compounds. The genome sequence of Streptomyces sp. CNQ-509 was found to contain 29 putative gene clusters for the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites, some of them potentially involved in the formation of meroterpenoid molecules. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Puyana, M, Pawlik J, Blum J, Fehical W.  2015.  Metabolite variability Caribbean sponges of the genus Aplysina. Revista Brasileira De Farmacognosia-Brazilian Journal of Pharmacognosy. 25:592-599.   10.1016/j.bjp.2015.08.002   AbstractWebsite

Sponges of the genus Aplysina are among the most common benthic animals on reefs of the Caribbean, and display a wide diversity of morphologies and colors. Tissues of these sponges lack mineralized skeletal elements, but contain a dense spongin skeleton and an elaborate series of tyrosine-derived brominated alkaloid metabolites that function as chemical defenses against predatory fishes, but do not deter some molluscs. Among the earliest marine natural products to be isolated and identified, these metabolites remain the subject of intense interest for commercial applications because of their activities in various bioassays. In this study, crude organic extracts from 253 sponges from ten morphotypes among the species Aplysina archeri, Aplysina bathyphila, Aplysina cauliformis, Aplysina fistularis, Aplysina fulva, A. insularis, and Aplysina lacunosa were analyzed by liquid chromatographymass spectrometry (LCMS) to characterize the pattern of intra- and interspecific variabilities of the twelve major secondary metabolites present therein. Patterns across Aplysina species ranged from the presence of mostly a single compound, fistularin-3, in A. cauliformis, to a mixture of metabolites present in the other species. These patterns did not support the biotransformation hypothesis for conversion of large molecular weight molecules to smaller ones for the purpose of enhanced defense. Discriminant analyses of the metabolite data revealed strong taxonomic patterns that support a close relationship between A. fistularis, A. fulva and A. insularis, while two morphotypes of A. cauliformis (lilac creeping vs. brown erect) were very distinct. Two morphotypes of A. lacunosa, one with hard tissue consistency, the other soft and thought to belong to a separate genus (Suberea), had very similar chemical profiles. Of the twelve metabolites found among samples, variation in fistularin-3, dideoxyfistularin-3 and hydroxyaerothionin provided the most predictive influence in decreasing order. Except for one morphotype, weak relationships were found from within-morphotype analyses of metabolite concentrations as a function of geographic location (Florida, N Bahamas, S Bahamas) and depth (<10m, 1020m, >20m). Our data suggest that metabolite profiles are strongly influenced by sponge phenotype rather than by the diverse microbiome which many Aplysina species share. (C) 2015 Sociedade Brasileira de Earmacognosia. Published by Elsevier Editora Ltda. All rights reserved.

Leutou, AS, Yang I, Kang H, Seo EK, Nam SJ, Fenical W.  2015.  Nocarimidazoles A and B from a marine-derived actinomycete of the genus Nocardiopsis. Journal of Natural Products. 78:2846-2849.   10.1021/acs.jnatprod.5b00746   AbstractWebsite

Chemical investigation of a marine-derived actinomycete isolated from marine sediments collected off the coast of southern California and identified as a Nocardiopsis sp. (strain CNQ115) led to the isolation of two new 4-aminoimidazole alkaloids, nocarimidazoles A (1) and B (2). The chemical structures of nocarimidazoles A and B were assigned by interpretation of NMR spectroscopic data and through methylation to yield monomethyl and dimethyl derivatives. Nocarimidazoles A and B possess a 4-aminoimidazole ring combined with a conjugated carbonyl side chain, which is rarely found in microbial secondary metabolites.

Jungmann, K, Jansen R, Gerth K, Huch V, Krug D, Fenical W, Muller R.  2015.  Two of a kind: The biosynthetic pathways of chlorotonil and anthracimycin. Acs Chemical Biology. 10:2480-2490.   10.1021/acschembio.5b00523   AbstractWebsite

Chlorotonil A is a novel polyketide isolated from the myxobacterium Sorangium cellulosum So ce1525 that features a unique gem-dichloro-1,3-dione moiety. It exhibits potent bio-activity, most notably against the problematic malaria pathogen Plasmodium falciparum in the nanomolar range. In addition, strong antibacterial and Moderate antifungal activity were determined. The outstanding biological activity of chlorotonil A as well as its unusual chemical structure triggered our interest in elucidating 18 biosynthesis, a:prerequisite for alteration of the scaffold by synthetic biology approaches. This endeavor was facilitated by a recent report describing the strikingly similar structure of anthracimycin from a marine streptomycete, a compound of considerable interest due to its potent antibacterial activity. In this study, we report the identification and characterization of the chlorotonil A biosynthetic gene cluster from So ce1525 and compare It with that for anthracimycin biosynthesis. Access to both gene dusters allowed us to highlight commonalities between the two pathways and revealed striking differences, some of which Can plausibly;explain the structural differences observed between these intriguing natural products.

Alvarez-Mico, X, Rocha DD, Guimaraes LA, Ambrose A, Chapman E, Costa-Lotufo LV, La Clair JJ, Fenical W.  2015.  The hybrid pyrroloisoindolone-dehydropyrrolizine alkaloid (-)-chlorizidine a targets proteins within the glycolytic pathway. Chembiochem. 16:2002-2006.   10.1002/cbic.201500229   AbstractWebsite

The cytotoxic activity of (-)-chlorizidine A, a marine alkaloid containing a unique fusion between a pyrroloisoindolone and dehydropyrrolizine, was explored by using a combination of cellular and molecular methods. Our studies began by applying preliminary SAR evidence gathered from semisynthetic bioactivity evaluations to prepare an active immunoaffinity fluorescent (IAF) probe. This probe was then used to identify two cytosolic proteins, GAPDH and hENO1, as the targets of (-)chlorizidine A.

Choi, EJ, Nam SJ, Paul L, Beatty D, Kauffman CA, Jensen PR, Fenical W.  2015.  Previously uncultured marine bacteria linked to novel alkaloid production. Chemistry & Biology. 22:1270-1279.   10.1016/j.chembiol.2015.07.014   AbstractWebsite

Low-nutrient media and long incubation times facilitated the cultivation of 20 taxonomically diverse Gram-negative marine bacteria within the phyla Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria. These strains comprise as many as three new families and include members of clades that had only been observed using culture-independent techniques. Chemical studies of the type strains representing two new families within the order Cytophagales led to the isolation of nine new alkaloid secondary metabolites that can be grouped into four distinct structure classes, including azepinones, aziridines, quinolones, and pyrazinones. Several of these compounds possess antibacterial properties and appear, on structural grounds, to be produced by amino acid-based biosynthetic pathways. Our results demonstrate that relatively simple cultivation techniques can lead to the isolation of new bacterial taxa that are capable of the production of alkaloid secondary metabolites with antibacterial activities. These findings support continued investment in cultivation techniques as a method for natural product discovery.

Nam, SJ, Kauffman CA, Jensen PR, Moore CE, Rheingold AL, Fenical W.  2015.  Actinobenzoquinoline and actinophenanthrolines a-c, unprecedented alkaloids from a marine actinobacterium. Organic Letters. 17:3240-3243.   10.1021/acs.orglett.5b01387   AbstractWebsite

Chemical investigation of a marine actinomycete within the family Streptomycetaceae (our strain CNQ-149) has led to the isolation of the unprecedented alkaloids, actinobenzoquinoline (1) and actinophenanthrolines A-C (2-4). The chemical structures of 1-4 were assigned by interpretation of NMR spectroscopic data, and their absolute configurations were assigned by X-ray analysis. Actinobenzoquinoline possesses a 5-methyloxazolidin-4-one moiety and a dihydrobento[h],quinoline core structure, while actinophenanthrolines A-C are composed of hydroxypropanamide-substituted 1,7-phenanthroline core skeletons.

Awakawa, T, Crusemann M, Munguia J, Ziemert N, Nizet V, Fenical W, Moore BS.  2015.  Salinipyrone and pacificanone are biosynthetic by-products of the rosamicin polyketide synthase. Chembiochem. 16:1443-1447.   10.1002/cbic.201500177   AbstractWebsite

Salinipyrones and pacificanones are structurally related polyketides from Salinispora pacifica CNS-237 that are proposed to arise from the same modular polyketide synthase (PKS) assembly line. Genome sequencing revealed a large macrolide PKS gene cluster that codes for the biosynthesis of rosamicin A and a series of new macrolide antibiotics. Mutagenesis experiments unexpectedly correlated salinipyrone and pacificanone biosynthesis to the rosamicin octamodule Spr PKS. Remarkably, this bifurcated polyketide pathway illuminates a series of enzymatic domain- and module-skipping reactions that give rise to natural polyketide product diversity. Our findings enlarge the growing knowledge of polyketide biochemistry and illuminate potential challenges in PKS bioengineering.

Hassan, HM, Degen D, Jang KH, Ebright RH, Fenical W.  2015.  Salinamide F, new depsipeptide antibiotic and inhibitor of bacterial RNA polymerase from a marine- derived Streptomyces sp. Journal of Antibiotics. 68:206-209.   10.1038/ja.2014.122   AbstractWebsite
Trzoss, L, Fukuda T, Costa-Lotufo LV, Jimenez P, La Clair JJ, Fenical W.  2014.  Seriniquinone, a selective anticancer agent, induces cell death by autophagocytosis, targeting the cancer-protective protein dermcidin. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 111:14687-14692.   10.1073/pnas.1410932111   AbstractWebsite

Natural products continue to provide vital treatment options for cancer. Although their translation into chemotherapeutics is complex, collaborative programs continue to deliver productive pipelines for cancer chemotherapy. A new natural product, seriniquinone, isolated from a marine bacterium of the genus Serinicoccus, demonstrated potent activity over a select set of tumor cell lines with particular selectivity toward melanoma cell lines. Upon entering the cell, its journey began by localization into the endoplasmic reticulum. Within 3 h, cells treated with seriniquinone underwent cell death marked by activation of autophagocytosis and gradually terminated through a caspase-9 apoptotic pathway. Using an immunoaffinity approach followed by multipoint validation, we identified the target of seriniquinone as the small protein, dermcidin. Combined, these findings revealed a small molecule motif in parallel with its therapeutic target, whose potential in cancer therapy may be significant. This discovery defines a new pharmacophore that displayed selective activity toward a distinct set of cell lines, predominantly melanoma, within the NCI 60 panel. This selectivity, along with the ease in medicinal chemical modification, provides a key opportunity to design and evaluate new treatments for those cancers that rely on dermcidin activity. Further, the use of dermcidin as a patient preselection biomarker may accelerate the development of more effective personalized treatments.

Hensler, ME, Jang KH, Thienphrapa W, Vuong L, Tran DN, Soubih E, Lin L, Haste NM, Cunningham ML, Kwan BP, Shaw KJ, Fenical W, Nizet V.  2014.  Anthracimycin activity against contemporary methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Journal of Antibiotics. 67:549-553.   10.1038/ja.2014.36   AbstractWebsite

Anthracimycin is a recently discovered novel marine-derived compound with activity against Bacillus anthracis. We tested anthracimycin against an expanded panel of Staphylococcus aureus strains in vitro and in vivo. All strains of S. aureus tested, including methicillin-susceptible, methicillin-resistant (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant strains of S. aureus, were susceptible to anthracimycin at MIC values of <= 0.25 mg l(-1). Although its postantibiotic effects were minimal, anthracimycin exhibited potent and rapid bactericidal activity, with a >4-log kill of USA300 MRSA within 3 h at five times its MIC. At concentrations significantly below the MIC, anthracimycin slowed MRSA growth and potentiated the bactericidal activity of the human cathelicidin, LL-37. The bactericidal activity of anthracimycin was somewhat mitigated in the presence of 20% human serum, and the compound was minimally toxic to human cells, with an IC50 (inhibitory concentration 50)=70 mg l(-1) against human carcinoma cells. At concentrations near the MIC, anthracimycin inhibited S. aureus nucleic acid synthesis as determined by optimized macromolecular synthesis methodology, with inhibition of DNA and RNA synthesis occurring in the absence of DNA intercalation. Anthracimycin at a single dose of 1 or 10 mg kg(-1) was able to protect mice from MRSA-induced mortality in a murine peritonitis model of infection. Anthracimycin provides an interesting new scaffold for future development of a novel MRSA antibiotic.

Jensen, PR, Chavarria KL, Fenical W, Moore BS, Ziemert N.  2014.  Challenges and triumphs to genomics-based natural product discovery. Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology. 41:203-209.   10.1007/s10295-013-1353-8   AbstractWebsite

Genome sequencing is rapidly changing the field of natural products research by providing opportunities to assess the biosynthetic potential of strains prior to chemical analysis or biological testing. Ready access to sequence data is driving the development of new bioinformatic tools and methods to identify the products of silent or cryptic pathways. While genome mining has fast become a useful approach to natural product discovery, it has also become clear that identifying pathways of interest is much easier than finding the associated products. This has led to bottlenecks in the discovery process that must be overcome for the potential of genomics-based natural product discovery to be fully realized. In this perspective, we address some of these challenges in the context of our work with the marine actinomycete genus Salinispora, which is proving to be a useful model with which to apply genome mining as an approach to natural product discovery.

Farnaes, L, Coufal NG, Kauffman CA, Rheingold AL, DiPasquale AG, Jensen PR, Fenical W.  2014.  Napyradiomycin derivatives, produced by a marine-derived actinomycete, illustrate cytotoxicity by induction of apoptosis. Journal of Natural Products. 77:15-21.   10.1021/np400466j   AbstractWebsite

The microbial production, isolation, and structure elucidation of four new napyradiomycin congeners (1-4) is reported. The structures of these compounds, which are new additions to the marine-derived meroterpenoids, were defined by comprehensive spectroscopic analysis and by X-ray crystallography. Using fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) analysis, napyradiomycins 1-4 were observed to induce apoptosis in the colon adenocarcinoma cell line HCT-116, indicating the possibility of a specific biochemical target for this 1 class of cytotoxins.

Farnaes, L, La Clair JJ, Fenical W.  2014.  Napyradiomycins CNQ525.510B and A80915C target the Hsp90 paralogue Grp94. Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry. 12:418-423.   10.1039/c3ob41355a   AbstractWebsite

The intracellular localization and target of the napyradiomycin congeners CNQ525.510B and A80815C were explored using an immunoaffinity fluorescence (IAF) approach. Semi-synthetic methods were used to prepare probes from napyradiomycin CNQ525.510B and derivative A80815C. The results of confocal microscopy indicated that probes from both natural products localized predominantly within the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of HCT-116 human colon carcinoma cells. Parallel immunoaffinity precipitation efforts using a monoclonal antibody designed against the IAF tag, resulted in the isolation of an Hsp90 family member. This protein was identified as human Grp94 (hGrp94), by its specific mass spectral signature. This observation was validated by Western blot analyses and by the result of an in vitro Grp94 binding assay. The fact that the napyradiomycins CNQ525.510B and A80815C bind to hGrp94, and their associated probes localize within the ER, suggest the use of these materials as molecular probes for monitoring ER-based chaperone function.

Alvarez-Mico, X, Jensen PR, Fenical W, Hughes CC.  2013.  Chlorizidine, a Cytotoxic 5H-Pyrrolo 2,1-a isoindol-5-one-Containing Alkaloid from a Marine Streptomyces sp. Organic Letters. 15:988-991.   10.1021/ol303374e   AbstractWebsite

Cultivation of an obligate marine Streptomyces strain has provided the cytotoxic natural product chlorizidine A. X-ray crystallographic analysis revealed that the metabolite is composed of a chlorinated 2,3-dihydropyrrolizine ring attached to a chlorinated 5H-pyrrolo[2,1-a]isoindol-5-one. The carbon stereocenter in the dihydropyrrolizine is S-configured. Remarkably, the 5H-pyrrolo[2,1-a]isoindol-5-one moiety has no precedence in the field of natural products. The presence of this ring system, which was demonstrated to undergo facile nucleophilic substitution reactions at the activated carbonyl group, is essential to the molecule's cytotoxicity against HCT-116 human colon cancer cells.

Lane, AL, Nam SJ, Fukuda T, Yamanaka K, Kauffman CA, Jensen PR, Fenical W, Moore BS.  2013.  Structures and Comparative Characterization of Biosynthetic Gene Clusters for Cyanosporasides, Enediyne-Derived Natural Products from Marine Actinomycetes. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 135:4171-4174.   10.1021/ja311065v   AbstractWebsite

Cyanosporasides are marine bacterial natural products containing a chlorinated cyclopenta[a]indene core of suspected enediyne polyketide biosynthetic origin. Herein, we report the isolation and characterization of novel cyanosporasides C-F (3-6) from the marine actinomycetes Salinispora pacifica CNS-143 and Streptomyces sp. CNT-179, highlighted by the unprecedented C-2' N-acetylcysteamine functionalized hexose group of 6. Cloning, sequencing, and mutagenesis of homologous similar to 50 kb cyanosporaside biosynthetic gene clusters from both bacteria afforded the first genetic evidence supporting cyanosporaside's enediyne, and thereby p-benzyne biradical, biosynthetic origin and revealed the molecular basis for nitrile and glycosyl functionalization. This study provides new opportunities for bioengineering of enediyne derivatives and expands the structural diversity afforded by enediyne gene clusters.

Yang, MH, Liu Z, Hughes C, Stern AM, Wang H, Zhong ZT, Kan B, Fenical W, Zhu J.  2013.  Bile salt-induced intermolecular disulfide bond formation activates Vibrio cholerae virulence. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 110:2348-2353.   10.1073/pnas.1218039110   AbstractWebsite

To be successful pathogens, bacteria must often restrict the expression of virulence genes to host environments. This requires a physical or chemical marker of the host environment as well as a cognate bacterial system for sensing the presence of a host to appropriately time the activation of virulence. However, there have been remarkably few such signal-sensor pairs identified, and the molecular mechanisms for host-sensing are virtually unknown. By directly applying a reporter strain of Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of cholera, to a thin layer chromatography (TLC) plate containing mouse intestinal extracts, we found two host signals that activate virulence gene transcription. One of these was revealed to be the bile salt taurocholate. We then show that a set of bile salts cause dimerization of the transmembrane transcription factor TcpP by inducing intermolecular disulfide bonds between cysteine (C)-207 residues in its periplasmic domain. Various genetic and biochemical analyses led us to propose a model in which the other cysteine in the periplasmic domain, C218, forms an inhibitory intramolecular disulfide bond with C207 that must be isomerized to form the active C207-C207 intermolecular bond. We then found bile salt-dependent effects of these cysteine mutations on survival in vivo, correlating to our in vitro model. Our results are a demonstration of a mechanism for direct activation of the V. cholerae virulence cascade by a host signal molecule. They further provide a paradigm for recognition of the host environment in pathogenic bacteria through periplasmic cysteine oxidation.

Jang, KH, Nam S-J, Locke JB, Kauffman CA, Beatty DS, Paul LA, Fenical W.  2013.  Anthracimycin, a Potent Anthrax Antibiotic from a Marine-Derived Actinomycete. Angewandte Chemie International Edition. 52:7822-7824.: WILEY-VCH Verlag   10.1002/anie.201302749   AbstractWebsite

A new antibiotic, anthracimycin (see scheme), produced by a marine-derived actinomycete in saline culture, shows significant activity toward Bacillus anthracis, the bacterial pathogen responsible for anthrax infections. Chlorination of anthracimycin gives a dichloro derivative that retains activity against Gram-positive bacteria, such as anthrax, but also shows activity against selected Gram-negative bacteria.