Selected mutations reveal new intermediates in the biosynthesis of mupirocin and the thiomarinol antibiotics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Shu-Shan Gao
  • Luoyi Wang
  • Zhongshu Song
  • Elton R Stevens
  • Jack Connolly
  • Russell J Cox
  • Matthew P Crump
  • Paul R Race
  • Thomas J Simpson
  • Christine L Willis

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, United Kingdom.


Thiomarinol and mupirocin are assembled on similar polyketide/fatty acid backbones and exhibit potent antibiotic activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). They both contain a tetrasubstituted tetrahydropyran (THP) ring that is essential for biological activity. Mupirocin is a mixture of pseudomonic acids (PAs). Isolation of the novel compound mupirocin P, which contains a 7-hydroxy-6-keto-substituted THP, from a ΔmupP strain and chemical complementation experiments confirm that the first step in the conversion of PA-B into the major product PA-A is oxidation at the C6 position. In addition, nine novel thiomarinol (TM) derivatives with different oxidation patterns decorating the central THP core were isolated after gene deletion (tmlF). These metabolites are in accord with the THP ring formation and elaboration in thiomarinol following a similar order to that found in mupirocin biosynthesis, despite the lack of some of the equivalent genes. Novel mupirocin-thiomarinol hybrids were also synthesized by mutasynthesis.


Original languageEnglish
JournalAngewandte Chemie (International Edition)
Early online date9 Feb 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Feb 2017


  • Journal Article