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Open Access Commentary

Myxobacteria: natural pharmaceutical factories

Juana Diez1, Javier P Martinez2, Jordi Mestres3, Florenz Sasse4, Ronald Frank4 and Andreas Meyerhans2*

Author Affiliations

1 Molecular Virology Group, Department of Experimental and Health Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain

2 ICREA Infection Biology Group, Department of Experimental and Health Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain

3 Chemogenomics Laboratory, Research Program on Biomedical Informatics (GRIB), IMIM-Hospital del Mar Research Institute and Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain

4 Department of Chemical Biology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany

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Microbial Cell Factories 2012, 11:52  doi:10.1186/1475-2859-11-52

Published: 30 April 2012

Abstract

Myxobacteria are amongst the top producers of natural products. The diversity and unique structural properties of their secondary metabolites is what make these social microbes highly attractive for drug discovery. Screening of products derived from these bacteria has revealed a puzzling amount of hits against infectious and non-infectious human diseases. Preying mainly on other bacteria and fungi, why would these ancient hunters manufacture compounds beneficial for us? The answer may be the targeting of shared processes and structural features conserved throughout evolution.

Keywords:
Myxobacteria; Natural products; Drug discovery; Chemical space