Mechanisms and Evolution of Diversity-Generating RiPP Biosynthesis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This review focuses on the prochlorosin and cyanobactin biosynthetic pathways, unusual examples of pathways in cyanobacteria that appear to be diversity generating. In the case of prochlorosins, a single enzyme catalyzes post-translational modifications on an impressive number (10–80) of peptide substrates, resulting in polycyclic peptides of very different sizes and sequences. Like the prochlorosins, the cyanobactins are an extraordinarily diverse group of (mostly) cyclic peptides, but they are decorated further in parallel fashion by substrate-tolerant enzymes. This review discusses the current understanding of catalysis and possible evolutionary models that might explain the perplexing enzymatic tolerance of these systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-278
Number of pages13
JournalTrends in Chemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • cyanobactin
  • diversity-generating biosynthesis
  • generalist enzyme
  • lanthipeptide
  • prochlorosin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)


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