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A Type III Polyketide Synthase Specific for Sporulating Negativicutes is Responsible for Alkylpyrone Biosynthesis

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Genomic analyses indicate that anaerobic bacteria represent a neglected source of natural products. Whereas a limited number of polyketides have been reported from anaerobes, products of type III polyketide synthases (PKSs) have remained unknown. We found a highly conserved biosynthetic gene cluster (BGC) comprising genes putatively encoding a type III PKS and a methyltransferase in genomes of the Negativicutes, strictly anaerobic, diderm bacteria. By in vivo and in vitro expression of a type III PKS gene, dquA from the oak-associated Dendrosporobacter quercicolus in E. coli we show production of long-chain alkylpyrones. Intriguingly, this BGC is specific for sporulating Sporomusaceae but absent in related Negativicutes that do not sporulate, thus suggesting a physiological role.

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