The biosynthetic gene cluster for the 26-membered ring of the polyene macrolide pimaricin extends for about 110 kilobase pairs of contiguous DNA in the genome of Streptomyces natalensis. Two sets of polyketide synthase (PKS) genes are separated by a group of small polyketide-functionalizing genes. Two of the polyketide synthase genes, pimS0 and pimS1, have been fully sequenced and disrupted proving the involvement of each of these genes in pimaricin biosynthesis. The pimS0 gene encodes a relatively small acetate-activating PKS (approximately 193 kDa) that appears to work as a loading protein which "presents" the starter unit to the second PKS subunit. The pimS1 gene encodes a giant multienzyme (approximately 710 kDa) harboring 15 activities responsible for the first four cycles of chain elongation in pimaricin biosynthesis, resulting in formation of the polyene chromophore.