Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

E. Coli Engineered To Produce Important Class Of Antibiotic, Anti-cancer Drugs

Date:
December 24, 2008
Source:
University of California - Los Angeles
Summary:
Escherichia coli bacteria has been engineered to synthesize an important group of antibiotics and anti-cancer drugs.

Researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have taken a major step forward in the field of metabolic engineering, successfully using the bacterium Escherichia coli to synthesize a class of natural products known bacterial aromatic polyketides, which include important antibiotic and anticancer drugs.

Natural products are pharmacologically or biologically potent chemical compounds produced by living organisms; many are the active ingredients in pharmaceuticals. Bacterial aromatic polyketides include the antibiotic tetracycline and the compound doxorubicin, used in the treatment of breast and other cancers.

Because many of these natural products are synthesized by organisms that are difficult to collect, grow and maintain, researchers have sought to produce them using simpler organisms like E. coli, whose fast growth, variety of genetic tools and well-understood metabolism make it an ideal host for engineering and mass producing these compounds.

While turning E. coli into a microbial factory for natural products has been highly successful, resulting in the production of groups of drugs that include antibiotics like erythromycin and vancomycin, as well as terpenes and alkaloids, attempts to synthesize bacterial aromatic polyketides had previously been hindered by the compounds' complicated assembly process.

To achieve the successful synthesis of the aromatic polyketides, the UCLA research team — which included principal investigator Yi Tang, an associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and graduate students Wenjun Zhang and Yanran Li — first dissected a polyketide synthase enzyme from a rice plant fungus, then reassembled it and transferred it into the E. coli bacterium. The resulting synthetic enzyme is necessary to synthesize the carbon backbone of aromatic polyketides, which was previously inaccessible in E. coli.

In addition to the synthetic enzyme, the researchers introduced other enzymes to form a new pathway in E. coli that produced a range of bacterial aromatic polyketides from simple nutrients such as glucose.

"This is a key advance in the field of natural product biosynthesis," said Tang of the research, which will be published Dec. 30 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and is currently available on the journal's website. "We have now outfitted E. coli with the ability to make this family of compounds that are vital toward treating diseases such as infectious diseases and cancer.

"Furthermore, we can now take advantage of the E. coli machinery to engineer the pathways we introduced and synthesize new versions of natural products that may be more potent than the current versions - so-called unnatural natural products."

On a more fundamental level, the UCLA researchers are exploring interactions between the bacterial and fungal components they introduced into E. coli, which are from different kingdoms of life.

"There are some beliefs that bacterial and fungal enzymes will not cross-talk to each other," said Zhang, the paper's lead author. "Our work showed that polyketide synthase from the two kingdoms can indeed be functionally combined inside the E. coli platform. Therefore, there is much to learn about why these interactions are possible."

The work was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health and a fellowship from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation. Zhang was supported in part by a Nell I. Mondy Fellowship.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Los Angeles. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Los Angeles. "E. Coli Engineered To Produce Important Class Of Antibiotic, Anti-cancer Drugs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081222163047.htm>.
University of California - Los Angeles. (2008, December 24). E. Coli Engineered To Produce Important Class Of Antibiotic, Anti-cancer Drugs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081222163047.htm
University of California - Los Angeles. "E. Coli Engineered To Produce Important Class Of Antibiotic, Anti-cancer Drugs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081222163047.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) How to make a pumpkin pom-pom. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Shoppers at an Oregon drug store were surprised by a bear cub scurrying down the aisles this past weekend. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Family Pleads for Pet Pig to Stay at Home

Family Pleads for Pet Pig to Stay at Home

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) The Johnson family lost their battle with the Chesterfield County, Virginia Planning Commission to allow Tucker, their pet pig, to stay in their home, but refuse to let the board keep Tucker away. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins