Science, Vol.263, No.5145, 378-380, 1994
Stereospecific Acyl Transfers on the Erythromycin-Producing Polyketide Synthase
During assembly of complex polyketide antibiotics like erythromycin A, molecular recognition by the multienzyme polyketide synthase controls the stereochemical outcome as each successive methylmalonyl-coenzyme A (CoA) extender unit is added. Acylation of the purified erythromycin-producing polyketide synthase has shown that all six acyltransferase domains have identical stereospecificity for their normal substrate (2S)-methylmalonyl-CoA. In contrast, the configuration of the methyl-branched centers in the products, that are derived from (2S)-methylmalonyl-CoA, is different. Stereoselection during the chain building process must, therefore, involve additional epimerization steps.