, Volume 62, Issue 5-6, pp 446-458
Date: 28 Jun 2003

Diversifying microbial natural products for drug discovery

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Historically, nature has provided the source for the majority of the drugs in use today. More than 20,000 microbial secondary metabolites have been described, but only a small percentage of these have been carried forward as natural product drugs. Natural products are in tough competition with large chemical libraries and with combinatorial chemistries. Hence, each step of a natural product program has to be more efficient than ever, starting from the collection of environmental samples and the selection of strains, to metabolic expression, genetic exploitation, sample preparation and chemical dereplication. This review will focus on approaches for diversifying microbial natural product strains and extract libraries, while decreasing genetic and chemical redundancy.

V. Knight and J.-J. Sanglier contributed equally to this work