Tsvetanova BC, Kiemle DJ, Price NP.
Department of Chemistry, State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, New York 13210, USA.
Tunicamycin is a reversible inhibitor of polyprenol-phosphate: N-acetylhexosamine-1-phosphate translocases and is produced by several Streptomyces species. We have examined tunicamycin biosynthesis, an important but poorly characterized biosynthetic pathway. Biosynthetic precursors have been identified by incorporating radioactive and stable isotopes, and by determining the labeling pattern using electrospray ionization-collision induced dissociation-mass spectrometry (ESI-CID-MS), and proton, deuterium, and C-13 nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Preparation and analysis of [uracil-5-(2)H]-labeled tunicamycin established the complete ESI-CID-MS fragmentation pathway for the major components of the tunicamycin complex. Competitive metabolic experiments indicate that 7 deuteriums incorporate into tunicamycin from [6,6'-(2)H,(2)H]-labeled D-glucose, 6 of which arise from D-GlcNAc and 1 from uridine and/or D-ribose. Inverse correlation NMR experiments (heteronuclear single-quantum coherence (HSQC)) of (13)C-labeled tunicamycin enriched from D-[1-(13)C]glucose suggest that the unique tunicamine 11-carbon dialdose sugar backbone arises from a 5-carbon furanose precursor derived from uridine and a 6-carbon N-acetylamino-pyranose precursor derived from UDP-D-N-acetylglucosamine. The equivalent incorporation of (13)C into both the alpha-1" and beta-11' anomeric carbons of tunicamycin supports a direct biosynthesis via 6-carbon metabolism. It also indicates that the tunicamine motif and the alpha-1"-linked GlcNAc residue are both derived from the same metabolic pool of UDP-GlcNAc, without significant differential metabolic processing. A biosynthetic pathway is therefore proposed for tunicamycin for the first time: an initial formation of the 11-carbon tunicamine sugar motif from uridine and UDP-GlcNAc via uridine-5'-aldehyde and UDP-4-keto-6-ene-N-acetylhexosamine, respectively, and subsequent formation of the anomeric-to-anomeric alpha, beta-1",11'-glycosidic bond.
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