New cytostatic compounds, tubulysins, were isolated from the culture broth of strains of the myxobacteria Archangium gephyra and Angiococcus disciformis. The compounds are peptides partly consisting of unusual amino acids and are distantly related to the dolastatins. The tubulysins were not active against bacteria and only little against fungi, but showed high cytostatic activity against mammalian cell lines with IC50 values in the picomolar range. An incubation with 50 ng/ml tubulysin A led to a complete disappearance of the microtubuli network of the cells within 24 hours. The more active tubulysin D induced multipolar spindles: At 0.5 ng/ml all mitotic cells showed more than four spindle poles.