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New from old: discovery of the novel antibiotic actinomycin L in Streptomyces sp. MBT27

By Nataliia Machushynets, Somayah S. Elsayed, Chao Du, Maxime A. Siegler, Mercedes de la Cruz, Olga Genilloud, Gilles P. van Wezel

Posted 12 Oct 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.10.12.464064

Streptomycetes are major producers of bioactive natural products, including the majority of the antibiotics. While much if the low-hanging fruit has been discovered, it is predited that less than 5% of the chemical space has been mined. Here, we describe the novel actinomycins L1 and L2, which are produced by Streptomyces sp. MBT27. The molecules were discovered via metabolic analysis combined with molecular networking of cultures grown with different combinations of carbon sources. Actinomycins L1 and L2 are diastereoisomers, and the structure of actinomycin L2 was resolved using NMR and single crystal X-ray crystallography. Actinomycin L is formed via a unique spirolinkage of anthranilamide to the 4-oxoproline moiety of actinomycin X2, prior to the condensation of the actinomycin halves. Feeding anthranilamide to cultures of Streptomyces antibioticus, which has the same biosynthetic gene cluster as Streptomyces sp. MBT27 but only produces actinomycin X2, resulted in the production of actinomycin L. This shows that actinomycin L results from joining two distinct metabolic pathways, namely those for actinomycin X2 and for anthranilamide. Actinomycins L1 and L2 showed significant antimicrobial activity against Gram-positive bacteria. Our work shows how new molecules can still be identified even in the oldest of natural product families.

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