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New Insights into Lipidic Secondary Metabolites in Mycobacteria

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Tuberculosis and some other mycobacterial infections remain a tremendous threat to mankind. Pathogenic mycobacteria are able to survive within the hosts even for years, and a chemical and biological basis for their adaptation mechanisms is now beginning to be unraveled. The lipid-rich cell wall of mycobacteria contains structurally diverse glycolipids that comprise the outermost layer and interact directly with the environments. Recent studies have revealed that production of these surface-exposed glycolipids is mediated by enzymes utilized typically for biosynthesis of secondary metabolites. As for defined secondary metabolites in plants, bacteria and fungi that are often produced in response to environmental stresses and play a critical role in protection from their enemies, production of these cell wall glycolipids is influenced significantly by external factors to which mycobacteria are exposed. Identification of lipidic secondary metabolites in mycobacteria and elucidation of their biosynthetic pathways and biological functions now provide a clue to how mycobacteria have evolved to survive and grow both in host tissues as well as in natural environments. Further, what is learned from these studies is of important medical implications, including the development of a novel type of vaccines and therapeutic agents against human mycobacterial infections.

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Keywords: Corynebacterium; FAS system; Glycopeptidolipids; Gram-positive; Mannose Phosphomycoketide; Microbes; Mycobacteria; Mycobacteriaceae; Mycobacterium; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Mycolate Derivatives; Nocardia, Rhodococcus; Phthiocerol Derivatives; Rhodococcus; Secondary Metabolites; acyl carrier protein; aerobic bacilli; alcohol group; alkyl--hydroxy fatty acids; anomer; antibiotic agents; arabinogalactan-linked; arabinose termini; atypical; biological energy; biosurfactants; carbon chains; catalyzes; chemotherapy; chloroplasts; condensation processes; conjugated; enzymes; ester-linked; eukaryotic type; framework; fungi; galactose/arabinose polysaccharide; granuloma; hydrophobic; hydrophobic cell; immune system; isomers; lipids; mitochondria; mycobacterial infection; mycolic acid; mycolic acids; non-ribosomal peptide; non-ribosomal peptide synthetase; pH, density; pathogensis; peptidoglycan; peripheral blood; polyketide synthase; primary metabolites; secondary metabolite; secondary metabolites; serotype-nonspecific; silica gel; sugar; taxonomic genus; vaccines

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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  • Current Chemical Biology aims to publish full-length and mini reviews on exciting new developments at the chemistry-biology interface, covering topics relating to Chemical Synthesis, Science at Chemistry-Biology Interface and Chemical Mechanisms of Biological Systems.

    Current Chemical Biology covers the following areas: Chemical Synthesis (Syntheses of biologically important macromolecules including proteins, polypeptides, oligonucleotides, oligosaccharides etc.; Asymmetric synthesis; Combinatorial synthesis; Diversity-oriented synthesis; Template-directed synthesis; Biomimetic synthesis; Solid phase biomolecular synthesis; Synthesis of small biomolecules: amino acids, peptides, lipids, carbohydrates and nucleosides; and Natural product synthesis).

    Science at Chemistry-Biology Interface (Chemical informatics; Macromolecular catalysts and receptors; Enzymatic synthesis; Biosynthetic engineering; Combinatorial biosynthesis; Plant cell based chemistry; Bacterial and viral cell based chemistry; Chemistry of cellular processes in plants/animals; Receptor chemistry; Cell signaling chemistry; Drug design through understanding of disease processes; Synthetic biology; New high throughput screening techniques; Small molecular array fabrication; Chemical genomics; Chemical and biological approaches to carbohydrates proteins and nucleic acids design; Chemical and biological regulation of biosynthetic pathways; and Unnatural biomolecular analogs).
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