Unveiling an indole alkaloid diketopiperazine biosynthetic pathway that features a unique stereoisomerase and multifunctional methyltransferase

Nat Commun. 2023 May 3;14(1):2558. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-38168-3.


The 2,5-diketopiperazines are a prominent class of bioactive molecules. The nocardioazines are actinomycete natural products that feature a pyrroloindoline diketopiperazine scaffold composed of two D-tryptophan residues functionalized by N- and C-methylation, prenylation, and diannulation. Here we identify and characterize the nocardioazine B biosynthetic pathway from marine Nocardiopsis sp. CMB-M0232 by using heterologous biotransformations, in vitro biochemical assays, and macromolecular modeling. Assembly of the cyclo-L-Trp-L-Trp diketopiperazine precursor is catalyzed by a cyclodipeptide synthase. A separate genomic locus encodes tailoring of this precursor and includes an aspartate/glutamate racemase homolog as an unusual D/L isomerase acting upon diketopiperazine substrates, a phytoene synthase-like prenyltransferase as the catalyst of indole alkaloid diketopiperazine prenylation, and a rare dual function methyltransferase as the catalyst of both N- and C-methylation as the final steps of nocardioazine B biosynthesis. The biosynthetic paradigms revealed herein showcase Nature’s molecular ingenuity and lay the foundation for diketopiperazine diversification via biocatalytic approaches.

PMID:37137876 | PMC:PMC10156859 | DOI:10.1038/s41467-023-38168-3


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