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Natural product biosynthesis

Tackling tunicamycin

The tunicamycins, secondary metabolites of various Streptomyces species, are invaluable tools in glycobiology. It has now been shown that their biosynthesis involves an unusual exo-glycal intermediate produced by previously unknown short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase activity.

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Figure 1: Tunicamycin, tunicamine and the biosynthetic action of TunA — a protein in the short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase superfamily.


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Correspondence to Stephen G. Withers.

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Goddard-Borger, E., Withers, S. Tackling tunicamycin. Nature Chem 4, 520–521 (2012).

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