Streptomyces are Gram-positive bacteria that live in soil. These bacteria possess a complex metabolism and are known to naturally produce clinically useful compounds.
One large class of natural products, known as polyketides, includes many drugs such as erythromycin (antibacterial) and rapamycin (immunosuppressive), as well as promising drug leads such as migrastatin and oxazolomycin reported in the current study, which show important antibacterial, antitumor, and anti-human immunodeficiency virus activity.
These antibiotics are synthesized by a set of enzymes that are orchestrated into assembly-line-like biosynthetic machinery. Researchers in this study focused on understanding the enzymes specificity, which is responsible for generating the vast chemical structural diversities known for migrastatin, oxazolomycin and other polyketides.
The work is published in journal The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.