Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Pharmaceutical Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Jürgen Rohr


Type II polyketide synthase (PKS) produced natural products have proven to be an excellent source of pharmacologically relevant molecules due to their rich biological activities and chemical scaffolds. Type II-PKS manufactured polyketides share similar polycyclic aromatic backbones leaving their diversity to stem from various chemical additions and alterations facilitated by post-PKS tailoring enzymes. Evidence suggests that post-PKS tailoring enzymes form complexes in order to facilitate the highly orchestrated process of biosynthesis. Thus, protein-protein interactions between these enzymes must play crucial roles in their structures and functions. Despite the importance of these interactions little has been done to study them. In the mithramycin (MTM) biosynthetic pathway the Baeyer−Villiger monooxygenase (BVMO) MtmOIV and the ketoreductase MtmW form one such enzyme pair that catalyze the final two steps en route to the final product. MtmOIV oxidatively cleaves the fourth ring of the mithramycin intermediate premithramycin B (PreB) via a Baeyer−Villiger reaction, generating MTM’s characteristic tricyclic aglycone core and highly functionalized pentyl side chain at position 3. This Baeyer−Villiger reaction precedes spontaneous lactone ring opening, decarboxylation, and the final step of MTM biosynthesis, a reduction of the 4′- keto group catalyzed by the ketoreductase MtmW.

Another example of co-dependent post-PKS tailoring enzymes from the gilvocarcin biosynthetic pathway is composed of GilM and GilR. These two enzymes form an unusual synergistic tailoring enzyme pair that does not function sequentially. GilM exhibits dual functionality by catalyzing the reduction of a quinone intermediate to a hydroquinone and stabilizes O-methylation and hemiacetal formation. GilM mediates its reductive catalysis through the aid of GilR that provides its covalently bound FADH(2) for the GilM reaction, through which FAD is regenerated for the next catalytic cycle. A few steps later, following glycosylation related events unique to each gilvocarcin derivative, GilR dehydrogenates the hemiacetal moiety created by GilM to establish the formation of a lactone and the final gilvocarcin chromophore. To achieve a better understanding of post-type II PKS tailoring enzymes and their protein-proteininteractions for the benefit of future combinatorial biosynthetic efforts two specific aims were devised.

Specific aim 1 was to investigate the structure of MtmOIV and the role of active site residues in its catalytic mechanism.

Specific aim 2 was to integrate the function of GilM and its protein-protein interactionswith GilR that lead to their synergistic activity and sharing of GilR’s bicovalently bound FAD moiety.