The re-emergence of natural products for drug discovery in the genomics era

Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2015 Feb;14(2):111-29. doi: 10.1038/nrd4510. Epub 2015 Jan 23.


Natural products have been a rich source of compounds for drug discovery. However, their use has diminished in the past two decades, in part because of technical barriers to screening natural products in high-throughput assays against molecular targets. Here, we review strategies for natural product screening that harness the recent technical advances that have reduced these barriers. We also assess the use of genomic and metabolomic approaches to augment traditional methods of studying natural products, and highlight recent examples of natural products in antimicrobial drug discovery and as inhibitors of protein-protein interactions. The growing appreciation of functional assays and phenotypic screens may further contribute to a revival of interest in natural products for drug discovery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / chemistry*
  • Anti-Infective Agents / isolation & purification
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biodiversity
  • Biological Products / chemistry*
  • Biological Products / isolation & purification
  • Biological Products / pharmacology
  • Biological Products / therapeutic use
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Discovery / methods*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Genomics / methods*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Structure


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Biological Products