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Nat Prod Rep. 2007 Dec;24(6):1262-87. Epub 2007 May 30.

Systems biology of antibiotic production by microorganisms.

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Center for Microbial Biotechnology, BioCentrum-DTU, Building 223, Technical University of Denmark, DK-2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark.


The synthesis of secondary metabolites by microorganisms, specifically antibiotics, is of great scientific and economic importance. The onset (control and regulation) of secondary metabolite formation has and still is intriguing scientists both in industry and academia. Despite many studies, there is little known about the molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of secondary metabolism. With the recent developments in genomics and further development of advanced post-genomic techniques, it will be possible to apply a more holistic analysis to the regulation of antibiotic production in microorganisms. Here we review current knowledge about the control and regulation of secondary metabolites, with a focus on antibiotics. We will also review developments in the genomics of antibiotic-producing microorganisms, and discuss the use of systems biology for gaining a better understanding of the networks involved in regulation of antibiotic production.

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