Structure and mechanism of a dehydratase/decarboxylase enzyme couple involved in polyketide β-methyl branch incorporation

Asha V Nair, Alice Robson, Tom D Ackrill, Marisa Till, Matthew J Byrne, Catherine Back, Kavita Tiwari, Jonathan Davies, Chris L Willis, Paul R Race*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
70 Downloads (Pure)


Complex polyketides of bacterial origin are biosynthesised by giant assembly-line like megaenzymes of the type 1 modular polyketide synthase (PKS) class. The trans-AT family of modular PKSs, whose
biosynthetic frameworks diverge signifcantly from those of the archetypal cis-AT type systems represent a new paradigm in natural product enzymology. One of the most distinctive enzymatic
features common to trans-AT PKSs is their ability to introduce methyl groups at positions β to the thiol ester in the growing polyketide chain. This activity is achieved through the action of a fve protein HCS cassette, comprising a ketosynthase, a 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA synthase, a dehydratase, a decarboxylase and a dedicated acyl carrier protein. Here we report a molecular level description, achieved using a combination of X-ray crystallography, in vitro enzyme assays and sitedirected mutagenesis, of the bacillaene synthase dehydratase/decarboxylase enzyme couple PksH/
PksI, responsible for the fnal two steps in β-methyl branch installation in this trans-AT PKS. Our work provides detailed mechanistic insight into this biosynthetic peculiarity and establishes a molecular framework for HCS cassette enzyme exploitation and manipulation, which has future potential value
in guiding eforts in the targeted synthesis of functionally optimised ‘non-natural’ natural products.
Original languageEnglish
Article number15323
Number of pages16
JournalScientific Reports
Volume10 (2020)
Early online date18 Sept 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Sept 2020

Structured keywords

  • BrisSynBio
  • Bristol BioDesign Institute
  • BCS and TECS CDTs


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