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Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2016 Oct 1;105(Pt A):96-106. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2016.04.010. Epub 2016 Apr 16.

Biosynthesis of therapeutic natural products using synthetic biology.

Author information

1
Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK; Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK.
2
Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK; Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK. Electronic address: t.ellis@imperial.ac.uk.

Abstract

Natural products are a group of bioactive structurally diverse chemicals produced by microorganisms and plants. These molecules and their derivatives have contributed to over a third of the therapeutic drugs produced in the last century. However, over the last few decades traditional drug discovery pipelines from natural products have become far less productive and far more expensive. One recent development with promise to combat this trend is the application of synthetic biology to therapeutic natural product biosynthesis. Synthetic biology is a young discipline with roots in systems biology, genetic engineering, and metabolic engineering. In this review, we discuss the use of synthetic biology to engineer improved yields of existing therapeutic natural products. We further describe the use of synthetic biology to combine and express natural product biosynthetic genes in unprecedented ways, and how this holds promise for opening up completely new avenues for drug discovery and production.

KEYWORDS:

Alkaloids; Natural products; Nonribosomal peptides; Polyketides; Synthetic biology; Terpenoids; Therapeutics

PMID:
27094795
DOI:
10.1016/j.addr.2016.04.010
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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