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 molecules with varying alkyl chains. The discovery of the cly gene cluster paves the way to accessing industrially-relevant lactylates through pathway engineering.
SI Preprint Abt et al 2020 f