The next ‘enchanted ring’ could be found with obafluorin, a broad spectrum antibiotic from nature.
Understanding how antibiotic scaffolds are constructed in nature can help scientists prospect for new classes of antibiotics through DNA sequencing and genome mining. Researchers have used this knowledge to help solve the X-ray crystal structure of the enzyme that makes obafluorin — a broad spectrum antibiotic agent made by a fluorescent strain of soil bacteria. The new work from Washington University in St. Louis and the University at Buffalo was published July 31 in the journal Nature Communications.
A multi-part enzyme called a nonribosomal peptide synthetase produces the highly reactive beta-lactone ring that is responsible for obafluorin’s antimicrobial activity.