Fungal polyketides have significant biological activities, yet the biosynthesis by highly reducing polyketide synthases (HRPKSs) remains enigmatic. An uncharacterized group of HRPKSs was found to contain a C-terminal domain with significant homology to carnitine O-acyltransferase (cAT). Characterization of one such HRPKS (Tv6-931) from Trichoderma virens showed that the cAT domain is capable of esterifying the polyketide product with polyalcohol nucleophiles. This process is readily reversible, as confirmed through the holo ACP-dependent transesterification of the released product. The methyltransferase (MT) domain of Tv6-931 can perform two consecutive α-methylation steps on the last β-keto intermediate to yield an α,α-gem-dimethyl product, a new programing feature among HRPKSs. Recapturing of the released product by cAT domain is suggested to facilitate complete gem-dimethylation by the MT.
Keywords: acyltransferase; biosynthesis; heterologous expression; methyltransferase; polyketides.
© 2017 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.