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revised on 28.08.2020 and posted on 31.08.2020by Kathleen Abt, Raquel Castelo-Branco, Pedro Leao
Lactylates are an important group of molecules in the food and cosmetic industries. A series of natural halogenated 1-lactylates – chlorosphaerolactyaltes (1-4) – were recently reported from Sphaerospermopsis sp. LEGE 00249. Here, we identify the cly biosynthetic gene cluster, containing all the necessary functionalities to generate and release the natural lactylates. Using a combination of stable isotope-labeled precursor feeding and bioinformatic analysis, we propose that dodecanoic acid and pyruvate are the key building blocks in the biosynthesis of 1-4. We additionally report minor analogues of these moleculeswith varying alkyl chains. The discovery of the cly gene cluster paves the way to accessing industrially-relevant lactylates through pathway engineering.