The Thioesterase Domain in Glycopeptide Antibiotic Biosynthesis Is Selective for Cross-Linked Aglycones

Madeleine Peschke, Clara Brieke, Michael Heimes, Max J. Cryle

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5 Citations (Scopus)


The biosynthesis of the glycopeptide antibiotics (GPAs) - which include teicoplanin and vancomycin - is a complex enzymatic process relying on the interplay of nonribosomal peptide synthesis and a cytochrome P450-mediated cyclization cascade. This unique cyclization cascade generates the highly cross-linked state of these nonribosomal peptides, which is crucial for their antimicrobial activity. Given that these essential oxidative transformations occur while the peptide remains bound to the terminal module of the nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) machinery, it is important to assess the selectivity of the terminal thioesterase (TE) domain and how this domain contributes to the maintenance of an efficient biosynthetic pathway while at the same time ensuring GPA maturation is completed. In this study, we report the in vitro characterization of the thioesterase domain from teicoplanin biosynthesis, the first GPA thioesterase to be characterized. Our results show that the activity of this TE domain relies on the presence of an unusual extended N-terminal linker region that appears to be unique to the NRPS machineries found in GPA biosynthesis. In addition, we show that the activity of this domain against carrier protein bound substrates is dramatically enhanced for mature GPA aglycones as opposed to linear peptides and partially cyclized intermediates. These results demonstrate how the interplay between NRPS and P450s during late stage GPA biosynthesis is not only maintained but also leads to the efficient production of mature GPA aglycones. Thus, GPA TE domains represent another impressive example of the ability of TE domains to act as logic gates during NRPS biosynthesis, ensuring that essential late-stage peptide modifications are completed before catalyzing the release of the mature, bioactive peptide product.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-120
Number of pages11
JournalACS Chemical Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2018

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