Heterologous Biosynthesis of Tetrahydroxanthone Dimers: Determination of Key Factors for Selective or Divergent Synthesis
J Nat Prod. 2021 Apr 23. doi: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.1c00022. Online ahead of print.
Tetrahydroxanthone dimers are fungal products, among which secalonic acid D (1) is one of the most studied compounds because of its potent biological activity. Because the biosynthetic gene cluster of 1 has been previously identified, we sought to heterologously produce 1 in Aspergillus oryzae by expressing the relevant biosynthetic genes. However, our initial attempt of the total biosynthesis of 1 failed; instead, it produced four isomers of 1 due to the activity of an endogenous enzyme of A. oryzae. Subsequent overexpression of the Baeyer-Villiger monooxygenase, AacuH, which competes with the endogenous enzyme, altered the product profile and successfully generated 1. Characterization of the key biosynthetic enzymes revealed the surprising substrate promiscuity of the dimerizing enzyme, AacuE, and indicated that efficient synthesis of 1 requires highly selective preparation of the tetrahydroxanthone monomer, which is apparently controlled by AacuH. This study facilitates engineered biosynthesis of tetrahydroxanthone dimers both in a selective and divergent manner.