Discovery of Unclustered Fungal Indole Diterpene Biosynthetic Pathways through Combinatorial Pathway Reassembly in Engineered Yeast

J Am Chem Soc. 2015 Nov 4;137(43):13724-7. doi: 10.1021/jacs.5b06108. Epub 2015 Oct 21.


The structural diversity and biological activities of fungal indole diterpenes (IDTs) are generated in large part by the IDT cyclases (IDTCs). Identifying different IDTCs from IDT biosynthetic pathways is therefore important toward understanding how these enzymes introduce chemical diversity from a common linear precursor. However, IDTCs involved in the cyclization of the well-known aflavinine subgroup of IDTs have not been discovered. Here, using Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a heterologous host and a phylogenetically guided enzyme mining approach, we combinatorially assembled IDT biosynthetic pathways using IDTCs homologues identified from different fungal hosts. We identified the genetically standalone IDTCs involved in the cyclization of aflavinine and anominine and produced new IDTs not previously isolated. The cyclization mechanisms of the new IDTCs were proposed based on the yeast reconstitution results. Our studies demonstrate heterologous pathway assembly is a useful tool in the reconstitution of unclustered biosynthetic pathways.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biosynthetic Pathways / genetics
  • Cyclization
  • Diterpenes / chemistry
  • Diterpenes / metabolism*
  • Genetic Engineering*
  • Indoles / chemistry
  • Indoles / metabolism*
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Phosphorus-Oxygen Lyases / metabolism*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / enzymology*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism


  • Diterpenes
  • Indoles
  • Phosphorus-Oxygen Lyases