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Plasticity of the Streptomyces Genome-Evolution and Engineering of New Antibiotics

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Streptomyces is a genus of soil dwelling bacteria with the ability to produce natural products that have found widespread use in medicine. Annotation of Streptomyces genome sequences has revealed far more biosynthetic gene clusters than previously imagined, offering exciting possibilities for future combinatorial biosynthesis. Experiments to manipulate modular biosynthetic clusters to create novel chemistries often result in no detectable product or product yield is extremely low. Understanding the coupling between components in these hybrid enzymes will be crucial for efficient synthesis of new compounds. We are using new algebraic approaches to predict protein properties, and homologous recombination to exploit natural evolutionary constraints to generate novel functional enzymes. The methods and techniques developed could easily be adapted to study modular, multi-interacting complex systems where appreciable biochemical and comparative sequence data are available, for example, clinically significant non-ribosomally synthesised peptides and polyketides.
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Keywords: enzyme structure-function; genetic recombination; hidden markov models; novel antibiotics; streptomyces

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: School of Pharmacy, University of London, 29/39 Brunswick Square, London WC1N 1AX, UK.

Publication date: 01 July 2005

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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