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Biosynthesis of nonribosomal peptide precursors.

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  • Biology
  • Medicine


Nonribosomal peptides are natural products typically of bacterial and fungal origin. These highly complex molecules display a broad spectrum of biological activities, and have been exploited for the development of immunosuppressant, antibiotic, anticancer, and other therapeutic agents. The nonribosomal peptides are assembled by nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) enzymes comprising repeating modules that are responsible for the sequential selection, activation, and condensation of precursor amino acids. In addition to this, fatty acids, alpha-keto acids and alpha-hydroxy acids, as well as polyketide derived units, can also be utilized by NRPS assembly lines. Final tailoring-steps, including glycosylation and prenylation, serve to further decorate the nonribosomal peptides produced. The wide range of experimental methods that are employed in the elucidation of nonribosomal peptide precursor biosynthesis will be discussed, with particularly emphasis on genomics based approaches which have become wide spread over the last 5 years.

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