Natural product biosynthesis: What's next? A thematic series
Coordinating Editors: Satish K. Nair and Joseph M. Jez
Cover figure: The biosynthetic pathways of some of the natural products found in animals such as birds, urchins, fish, insects, worms, and corals are encoded in animal genomes and are similar to the biosynthetic machineries that microbes and plants use to produce small molecules. For the most part, the biosynthetic origins are unknown and represent a new frontier for research. Image taken from Torres and Schmidt. Artwork by Lisa Schnabel.
Natural product biosynthesis: What's next? An introduction to the JBC Reviews Thematic Series
The diversity of natural products not only fascinates us intellectually, but also provides an armamentarium against the microbes that threaten our health. The increased prevalence of pathogens that are resistant to one or more classes of available medicines continues to be a growing global threat. As drug-resistant pathogens erode the effectiveness of the current reserve of antibiotics and antifungals, methodological advances open additional avenues for discovery of new classes of drugs, as well as novel derivatives of existing (and proven) classes of compounds. In this Thematic Review Series, we aim to provide a snapshot of the current state of the art in natural product discovery. The reviews in this series encapsulate convergent approaches toward the identification of different classes of primary and specialized metabolites, including non-ribosomal peptides, polyketides, and ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptides, from all kingdoms of life. Traction in unraveling new and diverse classes of molecules has come largely from the academic sector, which ensures availability of methods and data sets. Such knowledge is needed to thwart serious threats to human health and calls to mind the proverb praemonitus praemunitus (forewarned is forearmed).
Reviews in this Series: