How To Make a Glycopeptide: A Synthetic Biology Approach To Expand Antibiotic Chemical Diversity Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Modification of natural product backbones is a proven strategy for the development of clinically useful antibiotics. Such modifications have traditionally been achieved through medicinal chemistry strategies or via in vitro enzymatic activities. In an orthogonal approach, engineering of biosynthetic pathways using synthetic biology techniques can generate chemical diversity. Here we report the use of a minimal teicoplanin class glycopeptide antibiotic (GPA) scaffold expressed in a production-optimized Streptomyces coelicolor strain to expand GPA chemical diversity. Thirteen scaffold-modifying enzymes from 7 GPA biosynthetic gene clusters in different combinations were introduced into S. coelicolor, enabling us to explore the criteria for in-cell GPA modification. These include identifying specific isozymes that tolerate the unnatural GPA scaffold and modifications that prevent or allow further elaboration by other enzymes. Overall, 15 molecules were detected, 9 of which have not been reported previously. Some of these compounds showed activity against GPA-resistant bacteria. This system allows us to observe the complex interplay between substrates and both non-native and native tailoring enzymes in a cell-based system and establishes rules for GPA synthetic biology and subsequent expansion of GPA chemical diversity.


  • Yim, Grace
  • Wang, Wenliang
  • Thaker, Maulik N
  • Tan, Stephanie
  • Wright, Gerard

publication date

  • September 9, 2016