Ecology and genomics of Actinobacteria: new concepts for natural product discovery

Doris A. van Bergeijk, Barbara R. Terlouw, Marnix H. Medema*, Gilles P. van Wezel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Actinobacteria constitute a highly diverse bacterial phylum with an unrivalled metabolic versatility. They produce most of the clinically used antibiotics and a plethora of other natural products with medical or agricultural applications. Modern ‘omics’-based technologies have revealed that the genomic potential of Actinobacteria greatly outmatches the known chemical space. In this Review, we argue that combining insights into actinobacterial ecology with state-of-the-art computational approaches holds great promise to unlock this unexplored reservoir of actinobacterial metabolism. This enables the identification of small molecules and other stimuli that elicit the induction of poorly expressed biosynthetic gene clusters, which should help reinvigorate screening efforts for their precious bioactive natural products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-558
JournalNature Reviews Microbiology
Early online date9 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


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