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Daptomycin and A21987C antibiotics are branched, cyclic, nonribosomally assembled acidic lipodepsipeptides produced by Streptomyces roseosporus. The antibacterial activity of daptomycin against Gram-positive bacteria strongly depends on the nature of the N-terminal fatty acid moiety. Two genes, dptE and dptF, localized upstream of the daptomycin nonribosomal peptide synthetase genes, are thought to be involved in the lipidation of daptomycin. Here we describe the cloning, heterologous expression, purification and biochemical characterization of the enzymes encoded by these genes. DptE was proven to preferentially activate branched mid- to long-chain fatty acids under ATP consumption, and these fatty acids are subsequently transferred onto DptF, the cognate acyl carrier protein. Additionally, we demonstrate that lipidation of DptF by DptE in trans is based on specific protein–protein interactions, as DptF is favored over other acyl carrier proteins. Study of DptE and DptF may provide useful insights into the lipidation mechanism, and these enzymes may be used to generate novel daptomycin derivatives with altered fatty acids.