The dapdiamides make up a family of antibiotics that have been presumed to be cleaved in the target cell to enzyme-inhibitory N-acyl-2,3-diaminopropionate (DAP) warheads containing two alternative electrophilic moieties. Our prior biosynthetic studies revealed that an eneamide warhead is made first and converted to an epoxyamide via a three-enzyme branch pathway. Here we provide a rationale for this logic. We report that the R,R-epoxyamide warhead is a more efficient covalent inactivator of glucosamine-6-phosphate synthase by 1 order of magnitude versus the eneamide, and this difference correlates with a >10-fold difference in antibiotic activity for the corresponding acyl-DAP dipeptides.
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