Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Drug discovery potential of natural microbial genomes

Date:
January 22, 2014
Source:
University of California, San Diego Health Sciences
Summary:
Scientists have developed a new genetic platform that allows efficient production of naturally occurring molecules, and have used it to produce a novel antibiotic compound.

Scientists at the University of California, San Diego have developed a new genetic platform that allows efficient production of naturally occurring molecules, and have used it to produce a novel antibiotic compound. Their study, published this week in PNAS, may open new avenues for natural product discoveries and drug development.

According to lead investigator Bradley S. Moore, PhD, of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at UC San Diego, the findings demonstrate a "plug and play" technique to trigger previously unknown biosynthetic pathways and identify natural product drug candidates.

"In my opinion, the new synthetic biology technology we developed -- which resulted in the discovery of a new antibiotic from a marine bacterium -- is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of our ability to modernize the natural product drug discovery platform," Moore said.

The ocean, covering 70 percent of Earth's surface, is a rich source of new microbial diversity for the discovery of new natural products effective as drugs for treating infections, cancer and other important medical conditions. Most natural antibiotics are complex molecules that are assembled by a special group of enzymes genetically encoded in the microbe's chromosome.

But it often proves difficult to grow the newly discovered ocean bacteria in the laboratory, or to get them to produce their full repertoire of natural products.

The UC San Diego scientists harvested a set of genes predicted to encode a natural product from ocean bacteria, then used the synthetic biology technology to identify and test a totally new antibiotic -- taromycin A -- found to be effective in fighting drug-resistant MRSA.

"Antibiotic resistance is critical challenge to the public health. Most antibiotics, such as penicillin, used in human medicine are natural molecules originally isolated from microbes in the soil or rainforest -- part of the chemical warfare that microbes deploy to out-compete one another and secure their niche in the environment," said co-investigator Victor Nizet, MD, professor of pediatrics and pharmacy at UC San Diego.

Such microbes have the genetic capacity to biosynthesize a wide range of specialized compounds. Although next-generation sequencing technologies can potentially exploit this capacity as an approach to natural drug discovery, researchers currently lack procedures to efficiently link genes with specific molecules. To help bridge this gap, the UC San Diego researchers developed a genetic platform based on transformation-associated recombination (TAR) cloning, which efficiently produces natural product molecules from uncharacterized gene collections.

The researchers applied the platform to yeast, targeting the taromycin gene cluster because of its high degree of similarity to the biosynthesis pathway of daptomycin, a clinically approved antibiotic used to treat infections caused by multi-resistant bacteria. "The technique has the potential to unlock the drug discovery potential of countless new and mysterious microbes," Nizet concluded.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California, San Diego Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. K. Yamanaka, K. A. Reynolds, R. D. Kersten, K. S. Ryan, D. J. Gonzalez, V. Nizet, P. C. Dorrestein, B. S. Moore. Direct cloning and refactoring of a silent lipopeptide biosynthetic gene cluster yields the antibiotic taromycin A. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2014; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1319584111

Cite This Page:

University of California, San Diego Health Sciences. "Drug discovery potential of natural microbial genomes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140122153611.htm>.
University of California, San Diego Health Sciences. (2014, January 22). Drug discovery potential of natural microbial genomes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140122153611.htm
University of California, San Diego Health Sciences. "Drug discovery potential of natural microbial genomes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140122153611.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins