Discovery of microbial natural products by activation of silent biosynthetic gene clusters

Peter J. Rutledge, Gregory L. Challis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

361 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Microorganisms produce a wealth of structurally diverse specialized metabolites with a remarkable range of biological activities and a wide variety of applications in medicine and agriculture, such as the treatment of infectious diseases and cancer, and the prevention of crop damage. Genomics has revealed that many microorganisms have far greater potential to produce specialized metabolites than was thought from classic bioactivity screens; however, realizing this potential has been hampered by the fact that many specialized metabolite biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) are not expressed in laboratory cultures. In this Review, we discuss the strategies that have been developed in bacteria and fungi to identify and induce the expression of such silent BGCs, and we briefly summarize methods for the isolation and structural characterization of their metabolic products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-523
Number of pages15
JournalNature Reviews Microbiology
Volume13
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes

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