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Open Access Research article

Identification and functional analysis of gene cluster involvement in biosynthesis of the cyclic lipopeptide antibiotic pelgipeptin produced by Paenibacillus elgii

Chao-Dong Qian1, Tian-Zhe Liu1, Shuang-Lin Zhou2, Rui Ding1, Wen-Peng Zhao1, Ou Li1 and Xue-Chang Wu1*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Microbiology, College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, P.R.China

2 Zhejiang Pharmaceutical College, Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, P.R.China

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BMC Microbiology 2012, 12:197  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-12-197

Published: 8 September 2012

Abstract

Background

Pelgipeptin, a potent antibacterial and antifungal agent, is a non-ribosomally synthesised lipopeptide antibiotic. This compound consists of a β-hydroxy fatty acid and nine amino acids. To date, there is no information about its biosynthetic pathway.

Results

A potential pelgipeptin synthetase gene cluster (plp) was identified from Paenibacillus elgii B69 through genome analysis. The gene cluster spans 40.8 kb with eight open reading frames. Among the genes in this cluster, three large genes, plpD, plpE, and plpF, were shown to encode non-ribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPSs), with one, seven, and one module(s), respectively. Bioinformatic analysis of the substrate specificity of all nine adenylation domains indicated that the sequence of the NRPS modules is well collinear with the order of amino acids in pelgipeptin. Additional biochemical analysis of four recombinant adenylation domains (PlpD A1, PlpE A1, PlpE A3, and PlpF A1) provided further evidence that the plp gene cluster involved in pelgipeptin biosynthesis.

Conclusions

In this study, a gene cluster (plp) responsible for the biosynthesis of pelgipeptin was identified from the genome sequence of Paenibacillus elgii B69. The identification of the plp gene cluster provides an opportunity to develop novel lipopeptide antibiotics by genetic engineering.

Keywords:
Non-ribosomal peptide; Biosynthesis; Gene cluster; Antimicrobial agent