The azinomycins are a family of potent antitumor agents with the ability to form interstrand cross-links with DNA. This study reports on the unusual biosynthetic formation of the 5-methyl naphthoate moiety, which is essential for effective DNA association. While sequence analysis predicts that the polyketide synthase (AziB) catalyzes the formation of this naphthoate, 2-methylbenzoic acid, a truncated single-ring product, is formed instead. We demonstrate that the thioesterase (AziG) acts as a chain elongation and cyclization (CEC) domain and is required for the additional two rounds of chain extension to form the expected product.
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