Flavoenzyme CrmK-mediated substrate recycling in caerulomycin biosynthesis†
Substrate salvage or recycling is common and important for primary metabolism in cells but is rare in secondary metabolism. Herein we report flavoenzyme CrmK-mediated shunt product recycling in the biosynthesis of caerulomycin A (CRM A 1), a 2,2′-bipyridine-containing natural product that is under development as a potent novel immunosuppressive agent. We demonstrated that the alcohol oxidase CrmK, belonging to the family of bicovalent FAD-binding flavoproteins, catalyzed the conversion of an alcohol into a carboxylate via an aldehyde. The CrmK-mediated reactions were not en route to 1 biosynthesis but played an unexpectedly important role by recycling shunt products back to the main pathway of 1. Crystal structures and site-directed mutagenesis studies uncovered key residues for FAD-binding, substrate binding and catalytic activities, enabling the proposal for the CrmK catalytic mechanism. This study provides the first biochemical and structural evidence for flavoenzyme-mediated substrate recycling in secondary metabolism.