Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

, Volume 98, Issue 2, pp 143–150 | Cite as

Actinobacteria: the good, the bad, and the ugly

  • Vivian Miao
  • Julian DaviesEmail author
Original Paper


The actinobacteria are arguably the richest source of small molecule diversity on the planet. These compounds have an incredible variety of chemical structures and biological activities (in nature and in the laboratory). Their potential for the development of therapeutic applications cannot be underestimated. It is suggested that an improved understanding of the biological roles of low molecular weight compounds in nature will lead to the discovery an inexhaustible supply of novel therapeutic agents in the next decade. To support this objective, a functional marriage of biochemistry, genomics, genetics, microbiology, and modern natural product chemistry will be essential.


Antibiotics Bioactive molecules Chemical diversity Genomics Molecular evolution Natural products Signaling Therapeutics 



We are grateful to Dorothy Davies for her patient editing assistance and Dr. Marco Ventura for permission to reproduce Fig. 1. Funding has been provided by the National Science and Engineering Research Council, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Merck Research Laboratories, and the Tally Fund.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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