Enzymatic assembly of epothilones: the EpoC subunit and reconstitution of the EpoA-ACP/B/C polyketide and nonribosomal peptide interfaces

Biochemistry. 2002 Apr 30;41(17):5685-94. doi: 10.1021/bi020006w.


The biosynthesis of epothilones, a family of hybrid polyketide (PK)/nonribosomal peptide (NRP) antitumor agents, provides an ideal system to study a hybrid PK/NRP natural product with significant biomedical value. Here the third enzyme involved in epothilone production, the five domain 195 kDa polyketide synthase (PKS) EpoC protein, has been expressed and purified from Escherichia coli. EpoC was combined with the first two enzymes of the epothilone biosynthesis pathway, the acyl carrier protein (ACP) domain of EpoA and EpoB, to reconstitute the early steps in epothilone biosynthesis. The acyltransferase (AT) domain of EpoC transfers the methylmalonyl moiety from methylmalonyl-CoA to the holo HS-acyl carrier protein (ACP) in an autoacylation reaction. The ketosynthase (KS) domain of EpoC decarboxylates the methylmalonyl-S-EpoC acyl enzyme to generate the carbon nucleophile that reacts with methylthiazolylcarboxyl-S-EpoB. The resulting condensation product can be reduced in the presence of NADPH by the ketoreductase (KR) domain of EpoC and then dehydrated by the dehydratase (DH) domain to produce the methylthiazolylmethylacrylyl-S-EpoC acyl enzyme intermediate that serves as the acyl donor for subsequent elongation of the epothilone chain. The acetyl-CoA donor can be replaced with propionyl-CoA, isobutyryl-CoA, and benzoyl-CoA and the acyl chains accepted by both EpoB and EpoC subunits to produce ethyl-, isopropyl-, and phenylthiazolylmethylacrylyl-S-EpoC acyl enzyme intermediates, suggesting that future combinatorial biosynthetic variations in epothilone assembly may be feasible. These results demonstrate in vitro reconstitution of both the PKS/NRPS interface (EpoA-ACP/B) and the NRPS/PKS interface (EpoB/C) in the assembly line for this antitumor natural product.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acrylates / metabolism
  • Acyl Carrier Protein / chemistry*
  • Acyl Carrier Protein / genetics
  • Acyl Carrier Protein / metabolism
  • Acyltransferases / chemistry
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases / metabolism
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / metabolism
  • Bacterial Proteins*
  • Epothilones*
  • Escherichia coli / enzymology
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Hydro-Lyases / metabolism
  • Macrolides / chemistry*
  • Macrolides / metabolism
  • Multienzyme Complexes / chemistry*
  • Multienzyme Complexes / metabolism
  • Peptide Synthases / chemistry*
  • Peptide Synthases / metabolism
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Proteins / chemistry*
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Thiazoles / metabolism


  • Acrylates
  • Acyl Carrier Protein
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Epothilones
  • Macrolides
  • Multienzyme Complexes
  • Proteins
  • Thiazoles
  • epothilone C
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases
  • polyketide synthase ketoreductase
  • Acyltransferases
  • Hydro-Lyases
  • Peptide Synthases
  • non-ribosomal peptide synthase
  • acrylic acid
  • epothilone B
  • 4-methylthiazole