Megalochelin, a Tridecapeptide Siderophore from a Talented Streptomycete

Vind, Kristiina; Brunati, Cristina; Simone, Matteo; Sosio, Margherita; Donadio, Stefano; Iorio, Marianna


Streptomycetes are bacteria known for their extraordinary biosynthetic capabilities. Herein, we describe the genome and metabolome of a particularly talented strain, Streptomyces ID71268. Its 8.4-Mbp genome harbors 32 bioinformatically predicted biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs), out of which 10 are expressed under a single experimental condition. In addition to five families of known metabolites with previously assigned BGCs (nigericin, azalomycin F, ectoine, SF2766, and piericidin), we were able to predict BGCs for three additional metabolites: streptochlorin, serpetene, and marinomycin. The strain also produced two families of presumably novel metabolites, one of which was associated with growth inhibitory activity against the human opportunistic pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii in an iron-dependent manner. Bioassay-guided fractionation, followed by extensive liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) and NMR analyses, established that the molecule responsible for the observed antibacterial activity is an unusual tridecapeptide siderophore with a ring-and-tail structure: the heptapeptide ring is formed through a C-C bond between a 2,3-dihydroxybenzoate (DHB) cap on Gly1 and the imidazole moiety of His7, while the hexapeptide tail is sufficient for binding iron. This molecule, named megalochelin, is the largest known siderophore. The megalochelin BGC encodes a 13-module nonribosomal peptide synthetase for the synthesis of the tridecapeptide, and a copper-dependent oxidase, likely responsible for the DHB-imidazole cross-link, whereas the genes for synthesis of the DHB starter unit are apparently specified in trans by a different BGC. Our results suggest that prolific producers of specialized metabolites may conceal hidden treasures within a background of known compounds.