Wendy L. Kelly
Office: IBB 3304
B.S., Oregon State University, 1996; M. S., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1998; Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, 2004; NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard Medical School, 2004-2006
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Young Faculty Award, 2009; Camille and Henry Dreyfus New Faculty Award, 2006; NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, 2004; American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education Gateway Fellowship, 1995-1997
Nature has provided us with an arsenal of agents that have proven clinically useful in the treatment of many human diseases, and this is particularly apparent for infectious diseases and cancer. Resistance to current anticancer and antimicrobial chemotherapies will always necessitate the discovery and development of additional therapeutic compounds, both by screening of natural products and by synthetic design. Biosynthetic engineering is a promising tool that could be coupled with these proven techniques to generate novel bioactive metabolites. Dr. Kelly's group examines natural products biosynthesis and its applications from chemical and microbiological perspectives.
A number of naturally occurring antibiotics are biosynthesized by one of two classes of large, multimodular, often multi-enzyme complexes: either nonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPSs) or polyketide synthases (PKSs). For every extender unit incorporated into the final product, there is a corresponding module in the PKS or NRPS. The modules are further subdivided into discrete catalytic and structural domains that each catalyze a single chemical step required to incorporate a monomeric unit into the polyketide or nonribosomal peptide. Following generation of a core skeleton, additional enzymatic transformations may be required for the bioactivity of the final metabolite. The modular NRPS and PKS systems are extremely attractive targets for biochemical and genetic manipulation to generate novel bioactive metabolites, and a body of work has emerged supporting the feasibility of this application. Before full exploitation of these approaches can be realized, a thorough understanding of the enzymes of interest and factors contributing to catalysis is paramount.
Dr. Kelly's group is interested in the biosynthesis of polyketide and
nonribosomal peptide antibiotics. We aim to understand the assembly
of central scaffolds that appear in families of metabolites that vary
in their biological activity according to unique peripheral modifications.
This requires a detailed understanding of the enzymes responsible for
construction of these molecules, including their catalytic mechanism
and substrate specificity. Strategies and techniques from organic chemistry,
biochemistry, molecular biology, and microbiology will be infused together
to accomplish this task. Ultimately, we will apply the information gleaned
from these studies to direct the biosynthesis of designer metabolites
possessing antimicrobial or anticancer activities.
"Identification of a tetraene-containing product of the indanomycin biosynthetic pathway,” K. R. Rommel, C. Li, W. L. Kelly, Org. Lett. 2011, 13, 2536-2539.
"Heterologous production of thiostrepton and biosynthetic engineering of thiostrepton analogs,” . Li, F. Zhang, W. L. Kelly, Mol. Biosyst. 2011, 7, 82-90.
"Recent advances in thiopeptide antibiotic biosynthesis,” C. Li, W. L. Kelly, Nat. Prod. Rep. 2010, 27, 153-164.
“Analysis of the indanomycin biosynthetic gene cluster from Streptomyces antibioticus NRRL 8167,” C. Li, K. E. Roege, W. L. Kelly, ChemBioChem, 2009, 10, 1064-1072.
“Thiostrepton biosynthesis: prototype for a new family of bacteriocins,” W. L. Kelly, L. Pan, C. Li, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2009, 131, 4327-4334.
“Biosynthetic origins of the pyrroloketoindane antibiotic indanomycin,” K. E. Roege, W. L. Kelly, Org. Lett, 2009, 11, 297-300.
“Intramolecular cyclizations of polyketide biosynthesis: mining for a Diels-Alderase?” W. L. Kelly, Org. Biomol. Chem. 2008, 6, 4483-4493.
"Characterization of the aminocarboxycyclopropane-forming enzyme CmaC," W. L. Kelly, M. T. Boyne, E. Yeh, D. A. Vosburg, D. P. Galonic, N. L. Kelleher, C. T. Walsh, Biochemistry, 2007, 46 (2), 359-368.
"Excision of the epothilone synthetase B cyclization domain and demonstration of in trans condensation/cyclodehydration activity," W. L. Kelly, N. J. Hillson, C. T. Walsh, Biochemistry, 2005, 44 (40): 13385-13393.
"Mutational analysis of nocK and nocL in the nocardicin A producer nocardia uniformis," W. L. Kelly, C. A. Townsend, J. Bact., 2005, 187, 739-746.