Diversity of nature's assembly lines – recent discoveries in non-ribosomal peptide synthesis
The biosynthesis of complex natural products by non-ribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPSs) and the related polyketide synthases (PKSs) represents a major source of important bioactive compounds. These large, multi-domain machineries are able to produce a fascinating range of molecules due to the nature of their modular architectures, which allows natural products to be assembled and tailored in a modular, step-wise fashion. In recent years there has been significant progress in characterising the important domains and underlying mechanisms of non-ribosomal peptide synthesis. More significantly, several studies have uncovered important examples of novel activity in many NRPS domains. These discoveries not only greatly increase the structural diversity of the possible products of NRPS machineries but – possibly more importantly – they improve our understanding of what is a highly important, yet complex, biosynthetic apparatus. In this review, several recent examples of novel NRPS function will be introduced, which highlight the range of previously uncharacterised activities that have now been detected in the biosynthesis of important natural products by these mega-enzyme synthetases.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2017 Hot Articles in Molecular Biosystems