Oxidative steps during the biosynthesis of squalestatin S1
The squalestatins are a class of highly complex fungal metabolites which are potent inhibitors of squalene synthase with potential use in the control of cholesterol biosynthesis. Little is known of the chemical steps involved in the construction of the 4,8-dioxa-bicyclo[3.2.1]octane core. Here, using a combination of directed gene knockout and heterologous expression experiments, we show that two putative non-heme-iron-dependent enzymes appear to catalyse a remarkable series of six consecutive oxidations which set up the bioactive core of the squalestatins. This is followed by the action of an unusual copper-dependent oxygenase which introduces a hydroxyl required for later acetylation.