The lipopeptides ramoplanin from Actinoplanes sp. ATCC 33076 and enduracidin produced by Streptomyces fungicidicus are effective antibiotics against a number of drug-resistant Gram-positive pathogens. While these two antibiotics share a similar cyclic peptide structure, comprising 17 amino acids with an N-terminal fatty acid side chain, ramoplanin has a di-mannose moiety that enduracidin lacks. The mannosyl substituents of ramoplanin enhance aqueous solubility, which was important in the development of ramoplanin as a potential treatment for Clostridium difficile infections. In this study we have determined the function of the putative mannosyltransferase encoded by ram29 from the ramoplanin biosynthetic gene cluster. Bioinformatics revealed that Ram29 is an integral membrane protein with a putative DxD motif that is suggested to bind to, and activate, a polyprenyl phosphomannose donor and an extracytoplasmic C-terminal domain that is predicted to bind the ramoplanin aglycone acceptor. The ram29 gene was cloned into the tetracycline inducible plasmid pMS17 and integrated into the genome of the enduracidin producer S. fungicidicus. Induction of ram29 expression in S. fungicidicus resulted in the production of monomannosylated enduracidin derivatives, which are not present in the WT strain. Tandem MS analysis showed that mannosylation occurs on the Hpg11 residue of enduracidin. In addition to confirming the function of Ram29, these findings demonstrate how the less common, membrane-associated, polyprenyl phosphosugar-dependent glycosyltransferases can be used in natural product glycodiversification. Such a strategy may be valuable in future biosynthetic engineering approaches aimed at improving the physico-chemical and biological properties of bioactive secondary metabolites including antibiotics.
Wu, M-C., Styles, M., Law, B. J. C., Struck, A-W., Nunns, L., & Micklefield, J. (2015). Engineered biosynthesis of enduracidin lipoglycopeptide antibiotics using the ramoplanin mannosyltransferase Ram29. Microbiology, 161, 1338-1347. https://doi.org/10.1099/mic.0.000095