Direct Genetic and Enzymatic Evidence for Oxidative Cyclization in Hygromycin B Biosynthesis
Hygromycin B is an aminoglycoside antibiotic with a structurally distinctive orthoester linkage. Despite its long history of use in industry and in the laboratory, its biosynthesis remains poorly understood. We show here, by in-frame gene deletion?in vivo?and detailed enzyme characterization?in vitro, that formation of the unique orthoester moiety is catalyzed by the α-ketoglutarate- and non-heme iron-dependent oxygenase HygX. In addition, we identify HygF as a glycosyltransferase adding UDP-hexose to 2-deoxystreptamine, HygM as a methyltransferase responsible for N-3 methylation, and HygK as an epimerase. These experimental results and bioinformatic analyses allow a detailed pathway for hygromycin B biosynthesis to be proposed, including the key oxidative cyclization reactions.