SERGIO SANCHEZ, SILVIA GUZMÁN-TRAMPE, MARIANA ÁVALOS, BEATRIZ RUIZ, AND ROMINA RODRÍGUEZ-SANOJA
Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México
Instituto de Química, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México
Microorganisms produce numerous natural products that, although they may not participate directly in their growth and development, do play an important role in the organism's ecological interactions with other organisms (secondary metabolites). Many of these products have therapeutic and agricultural applications and have been crucial to the health and well-being of humans. Approximately one third of the top-selling drugs in the world that are recognized in the pharmaceutical industry as having broad structural diversity and a wide range of pharmacological activity are natural products or their derivatives. The structural diversity of these products makes them valuable as novel lead compounds against newly discovered therapeutic targets. Similar biological effects are often displayed by different chemical species. Likely, many undiscovered microbes exist that are capable of producing natural compounds exhibiting biological activities with potential commercial application. Here, we discuss several important microbial natural products, with a special emphasis on their chemical diversity.
Filamentous fungi and bacteria, particularly bacilli and actinomycetes, have been the focus ...