Indexed on: 17 Sep '13Published on: 17 Sep '13Published in: Protein Science
Lanthipeptides are a group of posttranslationally modified peptide natural products that contain multiple thioether crosslinks. These crosslinks are formed by dehydration of Ser/Thr residues followed by addition of the thiols of Cys residues to the resulting dehydroamino acids. At least four different pathways to these polycyclic natural products have evolved, reflecting the high efficiency and evolvability of a posttranslational modification route to generate conformationally constrained peptides. The wealth of genomic information that has been made available in recent years has started to provide insights into how these remarkable pathways and their posttranslational modification machineries may have evolved. In this review, we discuss a model for the evolution of the lanthipeptide biosynthetic enzymes that has recently been developed based on the currently available data.