Identification and characterization of enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of pyrimidine nucleoside antibiotics

M. McErlean, X. Liu, Z. Cui, B. Gust, S. G. Van Lanen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Covering: up to September 2020 Hundreds of nucleoside-based natural products have been isolated from various microorganisms, several of which have been utilized in agriculture as pesticides and herbicides, in medicine as therapeutics for cancer and infectious disease, and as molecular probes to study biological processes. Natural products consisting of structural modifications of each of the canonical nucleosides have been discovered, ranging from simple modifications such as single-step alkylations or acylations to highly elaborate modifications that dramatically alter the nucleoside scaffold and require multiple enzyme-catalyzed reactions. A vast amount of genomic information has been uncovered the past two decades, which has subsequently allowed the first opportunity to interrogate the chemically intriguing enzymatic transformations for the latter type of modifications. This review highlights (i) the discovery and potential applications of structurally complex pyrimidine nucleoside antibiotics for which genetic information is known, (ii) the established reactions that convert the canonical pyrimidine into a new nucleoside scaffold, and (iii) the important tailoring reactions that impart further structural complexity to these molecules.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1362-1407
Number of pages46
JournalNatural Product Reports
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to acknowledge Bertukan Van Lanen for help with the gures. Research in the S.V.L. Laboratory is funded in part by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease grants AI087849 and AI128862, National Cancer Institute grant CA217255, and National Institute of General Medical Science grant GM130456.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Royal Society of Chemistry.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Drug Discovery
  • Organic Chemistry


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