Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol.143, No.10, 3682-3686, 2021
Discovery and Biosynthesis of Tetrachlorizine Reveals Enzymatic Benzylic Dehydrogenation via an ortho-Quinone Methide
Ortho-quinone methides (o-QMs) are reactive intermediates in biosynthesis that give rise to a variety of intra- and intermolecular cyclization/addition products in bacteria, fungi, and plants. Herein, we report a new metabolic deviation of an o-QM intermediate in a benzylic dehydrogenation reaction that links the newly described marine bacterial natural products dihydrotetrachlorizine and tetrachlorizine. We discovered these novel dichloropyrrole-containing compounds from actinomycete strain AJS-327 that unexpectedly harbors in its genome a biosynthetic gene cluster (BGC) of striking similarity to that of chlorizidine, another marine alkaloid bearing a different carbon skeleton. Heterologous expression of the homologous flavindependent oxidoreductase enzymes Tcz9 and Clz9 revealed their native functions in tetrachlorizine and chlorizidine biosynthesis, respectively, supporting divergent oxidative dehydrogenation and pyrrolizine-forming reactions. Swapping these berberine bridge enzyme-like oxidoreductases, we produced cyclized and dehydrogenated analogs of tetrachlorizine and chlorizidine, including a dearomatized chlorizidine analog that stabilizes an o-QM via conjugation with a 3H-pyrrolizine ring.