The Biosynthesis of Phenazines
Research report (imported) 2005 - Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology
Phenazines are nitrogen-containing aromatic compounds with antibiotic properties that many bacteria synthesize and secrete into their environment to defend themselves against other competing microorganisms. Phenazine biosynthesis branches off the shikimate pathway but details remain elusive. Scientists from the MPI for molecular physiology have demonstrated that PhzF, a conserved enzyme of the bacterial phenazine biosynthesis operon, isomerises 2,3-dihydro-3-hydroxo anthranilic acid to a ketone. This product dimerises and subsequently undergoes several oxidation and a decarboxylation reaction to yield phenazine-1-carboxylic acid, the end product of the pathway. Using an approach that involves structural and biochemical methods, scientists in Dortmund have obtained evidence for the catalytic role of each of the enzymes of the phz-operon and are able to generate an almost complete structural and mechanistic picture of this interesting pathway.