Microbial natural products have been an important traditional source of valuable antibiotics and other drugs but interest in them waned in the 1990s when big pharma decided that their discovery was no longer cost-effective and concentrated instead on synthetic chemistry as a source of novel compounds, often with disappointing results. Moreover understanding the biosynthesis of complex natural products was frustratingly difficult. With the development of molecular genetic methods to isolate and manipulate the complex microbial enzymes that make natural products, unexpected chemistry has been revealed and interest in the compounds has again flowered. This two-volume treatment of the subject will showcase the most important chemical classes of complex natural products: the peptides, made by the assembly of short chains of amino acid subunits, and the polyketides, assembled from the joining of small carboxylic acids such as acetate and malonate. In both classes, variation in sub-unit structure, number and chemical modification leads to an almost infinite variety of final structures, accounting for the huge importance of the compounds in nature and medicine.

Key Features

* Gathers tried and tested methods and techniques from top players in the field. * In depth coverage of ribosomally-synthesised and Non-ribosomally-synthesised peptides. * Provides an extremely useful reference for the experienced research scientist.


Researchers in cell, molecular and developmental biology; biochemists, pharmacologists, geneticists.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Overview articles Introduction - chemical classes of complex natural products and overview of their biosynthesis Discovery of novel natural products Trans-modification of intermediates on the assembly line in PKS, FAS and NRPS biosynthesis Post-assembly line modifications, including glycosylation Cloning and analysis of natural product pathways In silico prediction of pathways from DNA sequence Mass spectrometric analysis of PKS and NRPS biosynthetic intermediates Synthetic probes for PKS and NRPS biochemistry Directed evolution of natural products Expression in a heterologous host Pathway-specific and global regulation of antibiotic biosynthesis: Regulation of antibiotic production by bacterial hormones: Part 2: Peptides A. Non-ribosomally-synthesised peptides Overview of NRPSs, and mechanistic and structural studies Siderophores Cephamycins and clavulanic acid Glycopeptides Lipopeptides Precursor Biosynthesis B. Ribosomally synthesised peptides Lantibiotic biosynthesis and engineering of novel compounds Cyclic peptides from marine bacteria


No. of pages:
© 2009
Academic Press
Electronic ISBN:
Print ISBN:

About the serial-volume-editor