Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Microbiology and BioMed Central.

Open Access Open Badges Research article

Identification and characterization of the biosynthetic gene cluster of polyoxypeptin A, a potent apoptosis inducer

Yanhua Du1, Yemin Wang1, Tingting Huang2, Meifeng Tao1, Zixin Deng1 and Shuangjun Lin1*

Author Affiliations

1 State Key Laboratory of Microbial Metabolism, School of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 800 Dongchuan Road, Shanghai 200240, China

2 Current address: Department of Chemistry at the Scripps Research Institute, Jupiter, FL 33458, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Microbiology 2014, 14:30  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-14-30

Published: 8 February 2014



Polyoxypeptin A was isolated from a culture broth of Streptomyces sp. MK498-98 F14, which has a potent apoptosis-inducing activity towards human pancreatic carcinoma AsPC-1 cells. Structurally, polyoxypeptin A is composed of a C15 acyl side chain and a nineteen-membered cyclodepsipeptide core that consists of six unusual nonproteinogenic amino acid residues (N-hydroxyvaline, 3-hydroxy-3-methylproline, 5-hydroxypiperazic acid, N-hydroxyalanine, piperazic acid, and 3-hydroxyleucine) at high oxidation states.


A gene cluster containing 37 open reading frames (ORFs) has been sequenced and analyzed for the biosynthesis of polyoxypeptin A. We constructed 12 specific gene inactivation mutants, most of which abolished the production of polyoxypeptin A and only ΔplyM mutant accumulated a dehydroxylated analogue polyoxypeptin B. Based on bioinformatics analysis and genetic data, we proposed the biosynthetic pathway of polyoxypeptin A and biosynthetic models of six unusual amino acid building blocks and a PKS extender unit.


The identified gene cluster and proposed pathway for the biosynthesis of polyoxypeptin A will pave a way to understand the biosynthetic mechanism of the azinothricin family natural products and provide opportunities to apply combinatorial biosynthesis strategy to create more useful compounds.

Biosynthesis; Polyoxypeptin A; Polyketide; Nonribosomal peptide; Apoptosis-inducing activity