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EEA1 is an early endosomal Rab5 effector protein that has been implicated in the docking of incoming endocytic vesicles before fusion with early endosomes. Because of the presence of complex endosomal pathways in polarized and nonpolarized cells, we have examined the distribution of EEA1 in diverse cell types. Ultrastructural analysis demonstrates that EEA1 is present on a subdomain of the early sorting endosome but not on clathrin-coated vesicles, consistent with a role in providing directionality to early endosomal fusion. Furthermore, EEA1 is associated with filamentous material that extends from the cytoplasmic surface of the endosomal domain, which is also consistent with a tethering/docking role for EEA1. In polarized cells (Madin-Darby canine kidney cells and hippocampal neurons), EEA1 is present on a subset of "basolateral-type" endosomal compartments, suggesting that EEA1 regulates specific endocytic pathways. In both epithelial cells and fibroblastic cells, EEA1 and a transfected apical endosomal marker, endotubin, label distinct endosomal populations. Hence, there are at least two distinct sets of early endosomes in polarized and nonpolarized mammalian cells. EEA1 could provide specificity and directionality to fusion events occurring in a subset of these endosomes in polarized and nonpolarized cells.

Epithelial cells display distinct apical and basolateral membrane domains, and maintenance of this asymmetry is essential to the function of epithelial tissues. Polarized delivery of apical and basolateral membrane proteins from the trans Golgi network (TGN) and/or endosomes to the correct domain requires specific cytoplasmic machinery to control the sorting, budding and fission of vesicles. However, the molecular machinery that regulates polarized delivery of apical proteins remains poorly understood. In this study, we show that the small guanosine triphosphatase Rab14 is involved in the apical targeting pathway. Using yeast two-hybrid analysis and glutathione S-transferase pull down, we show that Rab14 interacts with apical membrane proteins and localizes to the TGN and apical endosomes. Overexpression of the GDP mutant form of Rab14 (S25N) induces an enlargement of the TGN and vesicle accumulation around Golgi membranes. Moreover, expression of Rab14-S25N results in mislocalization of the apical raft-associated protein vasoactive intestinal peptide/MAL to the basolateral domain but does not disrupt basolateral targeting or recycling. These data suggest that Rab14 specifically regulates delivery of cargo from the TGN to the apical domain.

No abstract given.

The amino acid sequences of a large number of polyketide synthase domains that catalyse the transacylation of either methylmalonyl-CoA or malonyl-CoA onto acyl carrier protein (ACP) have been compared. Regions were identified in which the acyltransferase sequences diverged according to whether they were specific for malonyl-CoA or methylmalonyl-CoA. These differences are sufficiently clear to allow unambiguous assignment of newly-sequenced acyltransferase domains in modular polyketide synthases. Comparison with the recently-determined structure of the malonyltransferase from Escherichia coli fatty acid synthase showed that the divergent region thus identified lies near the acyltransferase active site, though not close enough to make direct contact with bound substrate.

Analysis of the gene cluster from Streptomyces hygroscopicus that governs the biosynthesis of the polyketide immuno-suppressant rapamycin (Rp) has revealed that it contains three exceptionally large open reading frames (ORFs) encoding the modular polyketide synthase (PKS). Between two of these lies a fourth gene (rapP) encoding a pipecolate-incorporating enzyme that probably also catalyzes closure of the macrolide ring. On either side of these very large genes are ranged a total of 22 further ORFs before the limits of the cluster are reached, as judged by the identification of genes clearly encoding unrelated activities. Several of these ORFs appear to encode enzymes that would be required for Rp biosynthesis. These include two cytochrome P-450 monooxygenases (P450s), designated RapJ and RapN, an associated ferredoxin (Fd) RapO, and three potential SAM-dependent O-methyltransferases (MTases), RapI, RapM and RapQ. All of these are likely to be involved in 'late' modification of the macrocycle. The cluster also contains a novel gene (rapL) whose product is proposed to catalyze the formation of the Rp precursor, L-pipecolate, through the cyclodeamination of L-lysine. Adjacent genes have putative roles in Rp regulation and export. The codon usage of the PKS biosynthetic genes is markedly different from that of the flanking genes of the cluster.

Precursor-directed biosynthesis was used to produce analogues of the cyclic depsipeptide mycotoxin beauvericin (1) using the filamentous fungus Beauveria bassiana ATCC 7159. Feeding 30 analogues of D-2-hydroxyisovalerate and L-phenylalanine, the natural 2-hydroxycarboxylic acid and amino acid precursors of beauvericin, led to the biosynthesis of novel beauvericins. Six of these were isolated and characterized, and their cytotoxicity and directional cell migration (haptotaxis) inhibitory activity against the metastatic prostate cancer cell line PC-3M were evaluated. Replacement of one, two, or all three of the D-2-hydroxyisovalerate constituents in beauvericin (1) with 2-hydroxybutyrate moieties (beauvericins G(1-3), compounds 2-4) caused a parallel decline of cell migration inhibitory activity and cytotoxicity, suggesting a requirement for a branched side chain for both of these biological activities at the corresponding positions of beauvericins. Replacement of one, two, or all three N-methyl-L-phenylalanine residues of beauvericin with N-methyl-L-3-fluorophenylalanine moieties (beauvericins H(1-3), compounds 5-7) increased cytotoxicity without affecting antihaptotactic activity.

The macrocyclic polyketides rapamycin and FK506 are potent immunosuppressants that prevent T-cell proliferation through specific binding to intracellular protein receptors (immunophilins). The cloning and specific alteration of the biosynthetic genes for these polyketides might allow the biosynthesis of clinically valuable analogues. We report here that three clustered polyketide synthase genes responsible for rapamycin biosynthesis in Streptomyces hygroscopicus together encode 14 homologous sets of enzyme activities (modules), each catalyzing a specific round of chain elongation. An adjacent gene encodes a pipecolate-incorporating enzyme, which completes the macrocycle. The total of 70 constituent active sites makes this the most complex multienzyme system identified so far. The DNA region sequenced (107.3 kbp) contains 24 additional open reading frames, some of which code for proteins governing other key steps in rapamycin biosynthesis.

4''-Oxo-avermectin is a key intermediate in the manufacture of the insecticide emamectin benzoate from the natural product avermectin. Seventeen Streptomyces strains with the ability to oxidize avermectin to 4''-oxo-avermectin in a regioselective manner have been discovered, and the enzymes responsible for this reaction were found to be CYPs (cytochrome P450 mono-oxygenases). The genes for these enzymes have been cloned, sequenced and compared to reveal a new subfamily of CYPs. The biocatalytic enzymes have been overexpressed in Escherichia coli, Streptomyces lividans and solvent-tolerant Pseudomonas putida strains using different promoters and vectors. FDs (ferredoxins) and FREs (ferredoxin:NADP(+) reductases) were also cloned from Streptomyces coelicolor and biocatalytic Streptomyces strains, and tested in co-expression systems to optimize the electron transport. Subsequent studies showed that increasing the biocatalytic conversion levels to commercial relevance results in the production of several side products in significant amounts. Chimaeric Ema CYPs were created by sequential rounds of GeneReassembly, a proprietary directed evolution method, and selected for improved substrate specificity by high-throughput screening.

The myxobacterium Sorangium cellulosum So ce26, the producer of the agriculturally important fungicide antibiotic soraphen A, displays coordinated gliding motility (swarming) on agar surfaces. The consequent failure to form detached colonies represents a major obstacle for microbiological and genetic studies, since single cells representing discrete genetic events cannot be reliably separated and propagated as clones. The MglA protein, the product of the mglA gene, has been shown to be a central regulator of gliding motility and swarming in the related myxobacterium Myxococcus xanthus. We have cloned and sequenced a chromosomal locus from S. cellulosum So ce26 that shows similarity to the M. xanthus mglA locus. Insertional inactivation of the chromosomal copy of the S. cellulosum So ce26 mglA homolog resulted in a strain with a non-swarming colony phenotype. This strain is able to form distinct colonies presumably derived from single cells. This is the first report on the characterization of a genetic element of the gliding motility system in the myxobacterial suborder Sorangineae.

The three giant multifunctional polypeptides of the rapamycin (Rp)-producing polyketide synthase (RAPS1, RAPS2 and RAPS3) have recently been shown to contain 14 separate sets, or modules, of enzyme activities, each module catalysing a specific round of polyketide chain extension. Detailed sequence comparison between these protein modules has allowed further characterisation of aa that may be important in catalysis or specificity. The acyl-carrier protein (ACP), beta-ketoacyl-ACP synthase (KS) and acyltransferase (AT) domains (the core domains) have an extremely high degree of mutual sequence homology. The KS domains in particular are almost perfect repeats over their entire length. Module 14 shows the least homology and is unique in possessing only core domains. The enoyl reductase (ER), beta-ketoacyl-ACP reductase (KR) and dehydratase (DH) domains are present even in certain modules where they are not apparently required. Four DH domains can be recognised as inactive by characteristic deletions in active site sequences, but for two others, and for KR and ER in module 3, the sequence is not distinguishable from that of active counterparts in other modules. The N terminus of RAPS1 contains a novel coenzyme A ligase (CL) domain that activates and attaches the shikimate-derived starter unit, and an ER activity that may modify the starter unit after attachment. The sequence comparison has revealed the surprisingly high sequence similarity between inter-domain 'linker' regions, and also a potential amphipathic helix at the N terminus of each multienzyme subunit which may promote dimerisation into active species.

An open reading frame (rapP) encoding the putative pipecolate-incorporating enzyme (PIE) has been identified in the gene cluster for the biosynthesis of rapamycin in Streptomyces hygroscopicus. Conserved amino acid sequence motifs for ATP binding, ATP hydrolysis, adenylate formation, and 4'-phosphopantetheine attachment were identified by sequence comparison with authentic peptide synthetases. Disruption of rapP by phage insertion abolished rapamycin production in S. hygroscopicus, and the production of the antibiotic was specifically restored upon loss of the inserted phage by a second recombination event. rapP was expressed in both Escherichia coli and Streptomyces coelicolor, and recombinant PIE was purified to homogeneity from both hosts. Although low-level incorporation of [14C]beta-alanine into recombinant PIE isolated from E. coli was detected, formation of the covalent acylenzyme intermediate could only be shown with the PIE from S. coelicolor, suggesting that while the recombinant PIE from S. coelicolor was phosphopantetheinylated, only a minor proportion of the recombinant enzyme from E. coli was post-translationally modified.

No abstract given.

A new metabolite of cholesterol was found in reaction mixtures containing cholesterol or 4-cholesten-3-one as a substrate and extra- or intracellular protein extracts from recombinant Streptomyces lividans and Escherichia coli strains carrying cloned DNA fragments of Streptomyces sp. SA-COO, the producer of Streptomyces cholesterol oxidase. The new metabolite was identified as 4-cholesten-6-ol-3-one based on comparisons of its high-performance liquid chromatography, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, infrared and proton-nuclear magnetic resonance spectra with those of an authentic standard. Genetic analyses showed that the enzyme responsible for the production of 4-cholesten-6-ol-3-one is cholesterol oxidase encoded by the choA gene. Commercially purified cholesterol oxidase (EC of a Streptomyces sp., as well as of Brevibacterium sterolicum and a Pseudomonas sp., and a highly purified recombinant Streptomyces cholesterol oxidase were also able to catalyse the 6-hydroxylation reaction. Hydrogen peroxide accumulating in the reaction mixtures as a consequence of the 3 beta-hydroxysteroid oxidase activity of the enzyme was shown to have no role in the formation of the 6-hydroxylated derivative. We propose a possible scheme of a branched reaction pathway for the concurrent formation of 4-cholesten-3-one and 4-cholesten-6-ol-3-one by cholesterol oxidase, and the observed differences in the rate of formation of the 6-hydroxy-ketosteroid by the enzymes of different bacterial sources are also discussed.

The Arthrobacter simplex gene coding for 3-ketosteroid-delta 1-dehydrogenase, a key enzyme in the degradation of the steroid nucleus, was cloned in Streptomyces lividans. Nucleotide sequence analysis revealed that the gene for 3-ketosteroid-delta 1-dehydrogenase (ksdD) is clustered with at least two more genes possibly involved in steroid metabolism. Upstream of ksdD, we found a gene, ksdR, encoding a hypothetical regulatory protein that shows homologies to KdgR, the negative regulator of pectin biodegradation in Erwinia, and GyIR, the activator for glycerol metabolism in Steptomyces. A helix-turn-helix DNA-binding domain can be predicted at similar positions near the N-terminal of KsdR, KdgR and GyIR. ksdl adjoining downstream to ksdD codes for a protein that has strong similarities to 3-ketosteroid-delta 5-isomerases. The highly conserved Tyr and Asp residues are present in the active-centre motif of the enzyme. The translated ksdD gene product was found to be similar to the 3-ketosteroid-delta 1-dehydrogenase of Pseudomonas testosteroni and to the fumarate reductase of Shewanella putrefaciens. A region highly conserved between the two steroid dehydrogenases can be aligned to the active-centre motif of the fumarate reductase. S. lividans strains carrying the ksdD gene overexpressed 3-ketosteroid-delta 1-dehydrogenase. The expression of 3-ketosteroid-delta 5-isomerase, however, was barely detectable in recombinant S. lividans strains carrying the ksdl gene, or in the parental Arthrobacter strain.

Epothilones are produced by the myxobacterium Sorangium cellulosum So ce90, and, like paclitaxel (Taxol((R))), they inhibit microtubule depolymerisation and arrest the cell cycle at the G2-M phase. They are effective against P-glycoprotein-expressing multiple-drug-resistant tumor cell lines and are more water soluble than paclitaxel. The total synthesis of epothilones has been achieved, but has not provided an economically viable alternative to fermentation. We set out to clone, sequence and analyze the gene cluster responsible for the biosynthesis of the epothilones in S. cellulosum So ce90.

A cluster of 22 open reading frames spanning 68,750 base pairs of the S. cellulosum So ce90 genome has been sequenced and found to encode nine modules of a polyketide synthase (PKS), one module of a nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS), a cytochrome P450, and two putative antibiotic transport proteins. Disruptions in the genes encoding the PKS abolished epothilone production. The first PKS module and the NRPS module are proposed to co-operate in forming the thiazole heterocycle of epothilone from an acetate and a cysteine by condensation, cyclodehydration and subsequent dehydrogenation. The remaining eight PKS modules are responsible for the elaboration of the rest of the epothilone carbon skeleton.

The overall architecture of the gene cluster responsible for epothilone biosynthesis has been determined. The availability of the cluster should facilitate the generation of designer epothilones by combinatorial biosynthesis approaches, and the heterologous expression of epothilones in surrogate microbial hosts.

4"-Oxo-avermectin is a key intermediate in the manufacture of the agriculturally important insecticide emamectin benzoate from the natural product avermectin. Seventeen biocatalytically active Streptomyces strains with the ability to oxidize avermectin to 4"-oxo-avermectin in a regioselective manner have been discovered in a screen of 3,334 microorganisms. The enzymes responsible for this oxidation reaction in these biocatalytically active strains were found to be cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (CYPs) and were termed Ema1 to Ema17. The genes for Ema1 to Ema17 have been cloned, sequenced, and compared to reveal a new subfamily of CYPs. Ema1 to Ema16 have been overexpressed in Escherichia coli and purified as His-tagged recombinant proteins, and their basic enzyme kinetic parameters have been determined.

The cytochrome P450 monooxygenase Ema1 from Streptomyces tubercidicus R-922 and its homologs from closely related Streptomyces strains are able to catalyze the regioselective oxidation of avermectin into 4"-oxo-avermectin, a key intermediate in the manufacture of the agriculturally important insecticide emamectin benzoate (V. Jungmann, I. Molnár, P. E. Hammer, D. S. Hill, R. Zirkle, T. G. Buckel, D. Buckel, J. M. Ligon, and J. P. Pachlatko, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 71:6968-6976, 2005). The gene for Ema1 has been expressed in Streptomyces lividans, Streptomyces avermitilis, and solvent-tolerant Pseudomonas putida strains using different promoters and vectors to provide biocatalytically competent cells. Replacing the extremely rare TTA codon with the more frequent CTG codon to encode Leu4 in Ema1 increased the biocatalytic activities of S. lividans strains producing this enzyme. Ferredoxins and ferredoxin reductases were also cloned from Streptomyces coelicolor and biocatalytic Streptomyces strains and tested in ema1 coexpression systems to optimize the electron transport towards Ema1.

A 108-kb genomic DNA region of Saccharopolyspora spinosa NRRL 18395, producer of the agriculturally important insecticidal antibiotics spinosyns, has been cloned, sequenced and analyzed to reveal clustered genes encoding a type I polyketide synthase (PKS) complex. The genes for the PKS are flanked by genes encoding homologs of enzymes that are involved in the urea cycle, valine, leucine and isoleucine biosynthesis and energy metabolism. While the disruption of the PKS genes by insertional inactivation was not expected to abolish the production of spinosyns, no differences were found in the antibacterial, antifungal, or insecticidal activities either of the parental and the knockout mutant strains under the growth conditions tested. Deduction of the most likely structure of the polyketide core of the cryptic metabolite, termed obscurin, from the predicted modules and domains of the PKS suggests the formation of a highly unsaturated substituted C22 carboxylic acid that might undergo further processing after its release from the PKS.

Discovery of the CYP107Z subfamily of cytochrome P450 oxidases (CYPs) led to an alternative biocatalytic synthesis of 4''-oxo-avermectin, a key intermediate for the commercial production of the semisynthetic insecticide emamectin. However, under industrial process conditions, these wild-type CYPs showed lower yields due to side product formation. Molecular evolution employing GeneReassembly was used to improve the regiospecificity of these enzymes by a combination of random mutagenesis, protein structure-guided site-directed mutagenesis, and recombination of multiple natural and synthetic CYP107Z gene fragments. To assess the specificity of CYP mutants, a miniaturized, whole-cell biocatalytic reaction system that allowed high-throughput screening of large numbers of variants was developed. In an iterative process consisting of four successive rounds of GeneReassembly evolution, enzyme variants with significantly improved specificity for the production of 4''-oxo-avermectin were identified; these variants could be employed for a more economical industrial biocatalytic process to manufacture emamectin.

The gene for 3-ketosteroid delta 1-dehydrogenase (ksdD) of Arthrobacter simplex was expressed in Streptomyces lividans and the secreted enzyme was overproduced by using a multi-copy shuttle vector composed of pIJ702 and pUC19. Deletional analysis of the recombinant plasmid showed that the entire coding sequence of the ksdD gene was located within a 7-kb segment of the chromosomal DNA obtained from the enzyme-producing strain of A. simplex. When S. lividans carrying the recombinant plasmid was grown in an appropriate medium, the cells produced about 100-fold more 3-ketosteroid delta 1-dehydrogenase than the original strain. Although the percentage of enzyme secreted was changed during cultivation, a maximum 55% of the enzyme was secreted into the cultured medium of S. lividans, while A. simplex did not produce the enzyme extracellularly. Secretory overproduction of 3-ketosteroid delta 1-dehydrogenase in S. lividans was also identified by sodium dodecyl sulfate/polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and on native gel, and the enzyme reaction was confirmed by reverse-phase HPLC using 4-androstene-3,17-dione as a substrate.