Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Digging up Dirt

31.07.2009
Novel natural product from environmental DNA: Erdacin is a powerful antioxidant

Researchers have not yet found a way to turn dirt into gold, but they are trying to find something valuable in it nonetheless: starting materials for novel pharmaceuticals.

As reported in the journal Angewandte Chemie, a research team headed by Sean F. Brady at the Rockefeller University in New York has now isolated DNA from “dirt” (samples of desert soil from Utah) that encodes enzymes for a new biosynthetic pathway to make polyketides. After introducing this DNA into Streptomyces albus, this bacteria produced a previously unknown natural product named erdacin, which is a highly active antioxidant.

We owe a number of our modern drugs to microorganisms, especially various antibiotics. Every habitat contains countless previously unknown microbes. One approach to the search for new drugs is thus the cultivation of such microbes in the laboratory. Extracts of their cultures can then be tested for biological activity. However, the majority of these microorganisms cannot be cultivated under current laboratory conditions. It has previously been shown that cultivation is not necessarily required in order to gain access to the natural products microbes produce: DNA can be extracted directly from environmental samples, such as a handful of soil, and stored in “environmental DNA libraries”.

It is a particular challenge to extract complete groups of genes that belong together, known as gene clusters, from such libraries. Brady’s team has now been able to isolate genes that encode enzymes for a special biosynthetic pathway (Type II polyketide synthase pathway) from a library of DNA extracted from desert soil. The researchers incorporated the genes from the desert soil into the bacterium Streptomyces albus, which then produced a novel polyketide. Polyketides are a group of natural products; their common trait is their biosynthesis by way of polyketide precursors. Their chemical structures and biological properties vary widely. Polyketides include many important drugs, including tetracycline and the antibiotic erythromycin.

The new polyketide, produced by the gene cluster isolated from soil, was named erdacin, which is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word “erda” for soil. By using NMR spectroscopy and X-ray structural analysis, they were able to determine its structure: a pentacyclic ring system made of one five-membered and four six-membered rings that are linked in a previously unknown manner. Erdacin is a strong antioxidant that is twice as active as well-known antioxidants such as vitamin C.

Author: Sean F. Brady, The Rockefeller University, New York (USA), http://www.rockefeller.edu/research/abstract.php?id=321

Title: An Environmental DNA-Derived Type II Polyketide Biosynthetic Pathway Encodes the Biosynthesis of the Pentacyclic Polyketide Erdacin

Angewandte Chemie International Edition, doi: 10.1002/anie.200901209

Sean F. Brady | Angewandte Chemie
Further information:
http://pressroom.angewandte.org
http://www.rockefeller.edu/research/abstract.php?id=321

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Not of Divided Mind
19.01.2017 | Hertie-Institut für klinische Hirnforschung (HIH)

nachricht CRISPR meets single-cell sequencing in new screening method
19.01.2017 | CeMM Forschungszentrum für Molekulare Medizin der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>