Characterization of Two Late-Stage Enzymes Involved in Fosfomycin Biosynthesis in Pseudomonads

Philip Olivares, Emily C. Ulrich, Jonathan R. Chekan, Wilfred A. Van Der Donk, Satish K. Nair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The broad-spectrum phosphonate antibiotic fosfomycin is currently in use for clinical treatment of infections caused by both Gram-positive and Gram-negative uropathogens. The antibiotic is biosynthesized by various streptomycetes, as well as by pseudomonads. Notably, the biosynthetic strategies used by the two genera share only two steps: the first step in which primary metabolite phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP) is converted to phosphonopyruvate (PnPy) and the terminal step in which 2-hydroxypropylphosphonate (2-HPP) is converted to fosfomycin. Otherwise, distinct enzymatic paths are employed. Here, we biochemically confirm the last two steps in the fosfomycin biosynthetic pathway of Pseudomonas syringae PB-5123, showing that Psf3 performs the reduction of 2-oxopropylphosphonate (2-OPP) to (S)-2-HPP, followed by the Psf4-catalyzed epoxidation of (S)-2-HPP to fosfomycin. Psf4 can also accept (R)-2-HPP as a substrate but instead performs an oxidation to make 2-OPP. We show that the combined activities of Psf3 and Psf4 can be used to convert racemic 2-HPP to fosfomycin in an enantioconvergent process. X-ray structures of each enzyme with bound substrates provide insights into the stereospecificity of each conversion. These studies shed light on the reaction mechanisms of the two terminal enzymes in a distinct pathway employed by pseudomonads for the production of a potent antimicrobial agent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)456-463
Number of pages8
JournalACS chemical biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 17 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterization of Two Late-Stage Enzymes Involved in Fosfomycin Biosynthesis in Pseudomonads'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this