Submitted to: American Chemical Society Symposium Series
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/9/2006
Publication Date: 1/1/2007
Citation: Baerson, S.R., Rimando, A.M. 2007. A Plethora of Polyketides: Structures, Biological Activities and Enzymes. American Chemical Society Symposium Series. In Polyketides: Biosynthesis, Biological Activity and Genetic Engineering, A. Rimando and S. Baerson, eds., American Chemical Society, Washington, DC. pp. 2-14.
Interpretive Summary: Polyketides represent an array of often structurally complex natural products produced by diverse organisms, many of which are pharmacologically valuable. This book provides an excellent overview of the chemistry, genetics, physiology, and enzymology of these compounds. The biosynthesis of polyketides represents a fascinating and dynamic area of investigation, and many new paradigms have recently emerged. The complexity of many of these molecules often renders their production via synthetic chemistry impractical; therefore an understanding of the chemistry and biology of systems producing these compounds will directly impact efforts toward the large scale industrial production of polyketides and polyketide-derivatives. The topics covered in this book range from the cloning and characterization of novel poyketide synthases, structural and functional analysis of enzyme catalysis, the genetic engineering of new polyketide synthase enzymes by rational design, and large-scale polyketide production strategies using heterologous systems. Academic and industrial leaders from around the world working in the fields of medicine, microbiology, and plant biology have included some of their latest results for this volume.
Technical Abstract: Polyketides represent a family of highly structurally diverse compounds, all produced via iterative decarboxylative condensations of starter and extender units, analogous to the biosynthesis of fatty acids. Polyketides have been shown to play important roles in the life cycles of producing organisms, as well as serving as chemical defense agents. Because a large number of polyketide-derived compounds are biologically active, they have also provided the basis for many important pharmaceuticals of enormous commercial and therapeutic value. Furthermore, the genetic and mechanistic diversity of polyketide synthase enzyme complexes involved in their biosynthesis in different organisms almost rivals the complexity of the molecules themselves. In this chapter, a brief overview is provided on these major subject areas, to serve as an entry point for readers exploring the subsequent chapters in this proceedings volume.