Identification and analysis of the core biosynthetic machinery of tubulysin, a potent cytotoxin with potential anticancer activity

Chem Biol. 2004 Aug;11(8):1071-9. doi: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2004.05.014.


Myxobacteria are well known for their biosynthetic potential, especially for the production of cytotoxic compounds with potential anticancer activities. The tubulysins are currently in preclinical development. They are produced in very low quantities, and genetic manipulation of producing strains has never been accomplished. We report the development of a mariner-based transposon mutagenesis system for Angiococcus disciformis An d48. Extracts from a library of 1200 mutants were analyzed for the presence of tubulysin by a microscopic cell nucleus fragmentation bioassay. The transposition sites of four tubulysin-negative mutants were identified by vector recovery, which led to the identification and the sequencing of the corresponding core biosynthetic gene locus. Sequence analysis of more than 80,000 bp reveals an unusual multimodular hybrid polyketide synthase/peptide synthetase assembly line with a variety of unprecedented features.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / metabolism*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Isoleucine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Isoleucine / biosynthesis
  • Isoleucine / chemistry
  • Isoleucine / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Molecular Structure
  • Multigene Family / genetics
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Myxococcales / genetics
  • Myxococcales / metabolism
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Thiazoles / chemistry
  • Thiazoles / metabolism*
  • Thiazoles / pharmacology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Thiazoles
  • Isoleucine

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AJ620477