Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.95, No.1, 157-168, 2012
Structural analysis and biosynthetic engineering of a solubility-improved and less-hemolytic nystatin-like polyene in Pseudonocardia autotrophica
Polyene antibiotics such as nystatin are a large family of very valuable antifungal polyketide compounds typically produced by soil actinomycetes. Previously, using a polyene cytochrome P450 hydroxylase-specific genome screening strategy, Pseudonocardia autotrophica KCTC9441 was determined to contain an approximately 125.7-kb region of contiguous DNA with a total of 23 open reading frames, which are involved in the biosynthesis and regulation of a structurally unique polyene natural product named NPP. Here, we report the complete structure of NPP, which contains an aglycone identical to nystatin and harbors a unique di-sugar moiety, mycosaminyl-(alpha 1-4)-N-acetyl-glucosamine. A mutant generated by inactivation of a sole glycosyltransferase gene (nppDI) within the npp gene cluster can be complemented in trans either by nppDI-encoded protein or by its nystatin counterpart, NysDI, suggesting that the two sugars might be attached by two different glycosyltransferases. Compared with nystatin (which bears a single sugar moiety), the di-sugar containing NPP exhibits approximately 300-fold higher water solubility and 10-fold reduced hemolytic activity, while retaining about 50% antifungal activity against Candida albicans. These characteristics reveal NPP as a promising candidate for further development into a pharmacokinetically improved, less-cytotoxic polyene antifungal antibiotic.