Recombinatorial biosynthesis of polyketides
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Modular polyketide synthases (PKSs) from Streptomyces and related genera of bacteria produce many important pharmaceuticals. A program called CompGen was developed to carry out in silico homologous recombination between gene clusters encoding PKSs and determine whether recombinants have cluster architectures compatible with the production of polyketides. The chemical structure of recombinant polyketides was also predicted. In silico recombination was carried out for 47 well-characterised clusters. The predicted recombinants would produce 11,796 different polyketide structures. The molecular weights and average degree of reduction of the chemical structures are dispersed around the parental structures indicating that they are likely to include pharmaceutically interesting compounds. The details of the recombinants and the chemical structures were entered in a database called r-CSDB. The virtual compound library is a useful resource for computer-aided drug design and chemoinformatics strategies for finding pharmaceutically relevant chemical entities. A strategy to construct recombinant Streptomyces strains to produce these polyketides is described and the critical steps of mobilizing large biosynthetic clusters and producing new linear cloning vectors are illustrated by experimental data.