Cyanobacteria: an emerging source for drug discovery

J Antibiot (Tokyo). 2011 Jun;64(6):401-12. doi: 10.1038/ja.2011.21. Epub 2011 Apr 6.


The c group of Gram-negative gliding bacteria, has a long history of cosmopolitan occurrence. It has great biodiversity despite the absence of sexual reproduction. This wide biodiversity may be reflected in the wide spectrum of its secondary metabolites. These cyanobacterial secondary metabolites are biosynthesized by a variety of routes, notably by non-ribosomal peptide synthetase or polyketide synthetase systems, and show a wide range of biological activities including anticancer, antibacterial, antiviral and protease inhibition activities. This high degree of chemical diversity in cyanobacterial secondary metabolites may thus constitute a prolific source of new entities leading to the development of new pharmaceuticals.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Products / isolation & purification
  • Biological Products / pharmacology*
  • Cyanobacteria / metabolism*
  • Drug Design
  • Drug Discovery / methods*
  • Humans


  • Biological Products