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Polyketides are secondary metabolites from bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals. Polyketides are usually biosynthesized through the decarboxylative condensation of malonyl-CoA derived extender units in a similar process to fatty acid synthesis (a Claisen condensation). [1] The polyketide chains produced by a minimal polyketide synthase are often further derivitized and modified into bioactive natural products.

Polyketides are structurally a very diverse family of natural products with diverse biological activities and pharmacological properties. They are broadly divided into three classes: type I polyketides (often macrolides produced by mutimodular megasynthaes), type II polyketides (often aromatic molecules produced by the iterative action of dissociated enzymes), and type III polyketides (often small aromatic molecules produced by fungal species). Polyketide antibiotics, antifungals, cytostatics, anticholesterolemics, antiparasitics, coccidiostatics, animal growth promoters and natural insecticides are in commercial use.




Polyketides are synthesized by one or more specialized and highly complex polyketide synthase (PKS) enzymes. [1]


  1. ^ a b Robinson JA (1991). "Polyketide synthase complexes: their structure and function in antibiotic biosynthesis". Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 332: 107–114. doi:10.1098/rstb.1991.0038. PMID 1678529.  

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