Recent developments towards the heterologous expression of complex bacterial natural product biosynthetic pathways

Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2005 Dec;16(6):594-606. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2005.10.001. Epub 2005 Oct 13.


The heterologous expression of natural product biosynthetic pathways is of increasing interest in biotechnology and drug discovery. It enables the (over)production of structurally complex substances through transfer of the biosynthetic genes from the original producer to more amenable heterologous hosts, and provides the basis to generate novel analogs through biosynthetic engineering. Furthermore, the lateral transfer of 'silent' (not expressed under standard laboratory conditions) secondary metabolite pathways or metagenomic DNA into surrogate host strains is expected to yield new, potentially bioactive compounds. This review discusses recent reports on the heterologous production of natural products with emphasis on polyketide and nonribosomally biosynthesized peptide compounds.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Biological Factors / biosynthesis*
  • Biological Factors / chemistry
  • Biotechnology / trends
  • Gene Expression*
  • Genes, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Genetic Engineering / trends
  • Macrolides* / chemistry


  • Biological Factors
  • Macrolides