Antibacterial natural products not only have provided a bonanza of molecules for medicinal chemistry, but they also have played a pivotal role in the growth of biological chemistry as a discipline. Today, natural products continue to present fundamental and translational challenges at the chemistry-biology interface, such as in understanding the diverse nature of antibiotic synthesis. This theme is explored in a recent Journal of Biological Chemistry thematic minireview series that offers four reviews that discuss insights into the biosynthesis of four distinct antibiotics: daptomycin, oxytetracycline, erythromycin and thiopeptides. On the other side of the coin is the subject of a second JBC minireview series: influenza viruses. These viruses are grouped into three types, A, B and C, but within each group, specific virus strains still can run a broad spectrum in their virulence and pathogenicity. To fully understand what factors influence this spectrum, one needs detailed information about relevant viral and host protein machinery. The series explores this area, providing three minireviews that discuss the biochemical and structural properties of the viral hemagglutinin and neuraminidase membrane glycoproteins; the PA, PB1 and PB2 subunits of the viral RNA polymerase complex and the cellular MxA-GTPase that possesses antiviral activity against influenza.
Chemical Biology: Antibiotic Synthesis
J. Biol. Chem. 285, 27499 – 27531, published Sept. 3, 2010
Influenza Virus-Host Interaction
J. Biol. Chem. 285, 28399 – 28424, published Sept. 10, 2010