δ-(l-α-aminoadipyl)-l-cysteinyl-d-valine synthetase (ACVS): discovery and perspectives

Genetics and Molecular Biology of Industrial Organisms - Review


The δ-(l-α-aminoadipyl)-l-cysteinyl-d-valine (ACV) tripeptide is the first dedicated intermediate in the biosynthetic pathway leading to the penicillin and cephalosporin classes of β-lactam natural products in bacteria and fungi. It is synthesized nonribosomally by the ACV synthetase (ACVS) enzyme, which has been purified and partially characterized from many sources. Due to its large size and instability, many details regarding the reaction mechanism of ACVS are still not fully understood. In this review we discuss the chronology and associated methodology that led to the discovery of ACVS, some of the main findings regarding its activities, and some recent/current studies being conducted on the enzyme. In addition, we conclude with perspectives on what can be done to increase our understating of this very important protein in the future.


β-lactams Penicillin Cephalosporin ACVS Streptomyces Protein purification 



This paper is dedicated to Professor A. L. Demain to mark the occasion of his 90th birthday. Throughout his career, Arnie has started many young scientists on their way, supported many established scientists in their research efforts, and made outstanding contributions to many areas of industrial microbiology through his own studies. He is an inspiration to us all. Work on β-lactams in KT’s laboratory at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) is supported by a Discovery Grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). MAM was the recipient of a student fellowship from NSERC and also received support from MUN for completing his program. We would also like to thank Dr. T. Martin Schmeing (Department of Biochemistry, McGill University, Canada) for advice on designing affinity tags for purifying large proteins.


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Copyright information

© Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kapil Tahlan
    • 1
  • Marcus A. Moore
    • 1
  • Susan E. Jensen
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyMemorial University of NewfoundlandSt. John’sCanada
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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