Researchers are exploring a method of producing powerful antibiotics called prodiginines which may also have potentials as anti-cancer drugs. Because these compounds are difficult to synthesize chemically, researchers are looking coaxing microorganisms to produce them.
Professor Greg Challis and colleagues in the Chemistry Department of the University of Warwick have looked at the enzymes controlling the process that allows the bacterium Streptomyces coelicolor to create streptorubin B and have gained a clear understanding of which are the key enzymes that act at particular steps of that process. By manipulation of the enzyme content of the bacteria, they aim to produce a range of different compounds based closely on the form of streptorubin B normally formed by the bacteria. Some of these analogues of streptorubin B could provide the basis for developing useful new anti cancer drugs.
The study describing the biosynthetic pathway to the production of 4-methoxy-2,2-bipyrrole-5-carboxaldehyde (MBC), a key intermediate in the biosynthesis of prodiginine antibiotics in Streptomyces coelicolor is published in Cehmical Communications.