Biosynthesis of the highly oxygenated tetracyclic core skeleton of Taxol


Nat Commun. 2024 Mar 15;15(1):2339. doi: 10.1038/s41467-024-46583-3.


Taxol is a widely-applied anticancer drug that inhibits microtubule dynamics in actively replicating cells. Although a minimum 19-step biosynthetic pathway has been proposed and 16 enzymes likely involved have been characterized, stepwise biosynthetic reactions from the well-characterized di-oxygenated taxoids to Taxol tetracyclic core skeleton are yet to be elucidated. Here, we uncover the biosynthetic pathways for a few tri-oxygenated taxoids via confirming the critical reaction order of the second and third hydroxylation steps, unearth a taxoid 9α-hydroxylase catalyzing the fourth hydroxylation, and identify CYP725A55 catalyzing the oxetane ester formation via a cascade oxidation-concerted acyl rearrangement mechanism. After identifying a acetyltransferase catalyzing the formation of C7-OAc, the pathway producing the highly-oxygenated 1β-dehydroxybaccatin VI with the Taxol tetracyclic core skeleton is elucidated and its complete biosynthesis from taxa-4(20),11(12)-diene-5α-ol is achieved in an engineered yeast. These systematic studies lay the foundation for the complete elucidation of the biosynthetic pathway of Taxol.

PMID:38490987 | PMC:PMC10942993 | DOI:10.1038/s41467-024-46583-3