Understanding their biosynthesis towards the discovery and production of novel antimicrobials
Accelerated antimicrobial resistance leading to decreasing efficiency of antibiotics looms as one of the greatest threats to global health. If these compounds stop working, infectious diseases and low risk treatments could become untreatable and dangerous. To deal with this urgent problem different approaches have emerged and some of them focuses on bacteria and their metabolic diversity as a promising alternative.
Among these microorganisms, Actinomycetes stands out from the rest for its rich secondary metabolism and especially their abilities as antibiotic factories. Nowadays, this group is a major source of clinically useful antimicrobials and synthesizes about two-thirds of the naturally derived antibiotics in current clinical use.
However, current efforts for drug discovery in Actinomycetes face two main challenges: high rediscovery rates and the potential for new antibiotics hidden and/or silent in the genome. Exploration of extreme environments constitute a major trend for finding new compounds, while different approaches from the biosynthetic and regulation perspective remain the focus to activate antibiotic-related genes and enhance their yield.
This project seeks to address the nature and scale of antimicrobial resistance and its challenges by identifying novel antimicrobials from three Streptomyces strains (Streptomyces avidinii, Streptomyces microflavus and Streptomyces subrutilis) isolated from a high Andean ecosystem in Colombia. This relatively under-explored environment distinguished by high levels of solar radiation, low atmospheric pressure and extreme daily changes in temperature offers a good alternative for discovering new compounds. Therefore, this project focuses on these strains and strategies for identification of novel chemical structures as well as the manipulation of their biosynthesis to enhance the yield either in the natural producer or in a heterologous host.
This project is a collaboration between Edge Hill University and Corporación Corpogen (Colombia) and is funded by the British Council via the Newton Fund Institutional Links program.