Natural Compound Library

A library of bacteria and fungi is to be made available to all DZIF units.© DZIF/scienceRELATIONS

Numerous small molecule pharmaceuticals derived from natural microbial sources have been proven to play a key role in combatting infectious diseases by interfering with biochemical reactions within the pathogen cells, manipulating the intraspecific signalling between pathogens, or affecting host–pathogen interactions. Such compounds account for the vast majority of antibiotics currently on the market.

A particular shortcoming of drug discovery in recent decades is that only a small share of the currently known bacteria or fungi have been explored for their potential to produce novel drug leads. Furthermore, no state-of-the-art molecular biological methods have yet been systematically applied to screen the potential of microbial producers.

The DZIF Natural Compound Library will be combining isolation methods, for obtaining and pre-selecting hitherto unexplored “creative” organisms and functional genomics, with systems biology approaches, fermentation optimization, assay development and bioprofiling in order to establish and optimize a highly diverse chemical compound library. This will render natural products accessible for screening and ultimately enable subsequent compound development in different Thematic Translational Units.