An isotopic labeling approach linking natural products with biosynthetic gene clusters

McCaughey, Catherine S.; Santen, Jeffrey A. van; Hooft, Justin J.J. van der; Medema, Marnix H.; Linington, Roger G.


Major advances in genome sequencing and large-scale biosynthetic gene cluster (BGC) analysis have prompted an age of natural product discovery driven by genome mining. Still, connecting molecules to their cognate BGCs is a substantial bottleneck for this approach. We have developed a mass-spectrometry-based parallel stable isotope labeling platform, termed IsoAnalyst, which assists in associating metabolite stable isotope labeling patterns with BGC structure prediction to connect natural products to their corresponding BGCs. Here we show that IsoAnalyst can quickly associate both known metabolites and unknown analytes with BGCs to elucidate the complex chemical phenotypes of these biosynthetic systems. We validate this approach for a range of compound classes, using both the type strain Saccharopolyspora erythraea and an environmentally isolated Micromonospora sp. We further demonstrate the utility of this tool with the discovery of lobosamide D, a new and structurally unique member of the family of lobosamide macrolactams. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].