(2R3S4S)-5-Fluoro-2,3,4-trihydroxypentanoic acid (5-FHPA) has been discovered as a new fluorometabolite in the soil bacterium Streptomyces sp. MA37. Exogenous addition of 5-fluoro-5-deoxy-D-ribose (5-FDR) into the cell free extract of MA37 demonstrated that 5-FDR was an intermediate to a range of unidentified fluorometabolites, distinct from fluoroacetate (FAc) and 4-fluorothreonine (4-FT). Bioinformatics analysis allowed identification of a gene cluster (fdr), encoding a pathway to the biosynthesis of 5-FHPA. Over-expression and in vitro assay of FdrC indicated that FdrC is a NAD+ dependent dehydrogenase responsible for oxidation of 5-FDR into 5-fluoro-5-deoxy-lactone, followed by hydrolysis to 5-FHPA. The identity of 5-FHPA in the fermentation broth was confirmed by synthesis of a reference compound and then co-correlation by 19F-NMR and GC-MS analysis. The occurrence of 5-FHPA proves the existence of a new fluorometabolite pathway.
DOH thanks EPSRC and the ERC for nancial support. He also acknowledges the Royal Society for a Wolfson Merit Award. KK and HD thank the Leverhulme Trust; Royal Society Africa Award (AA090088).