Ficellomycin: an aziridine alkaloid antibiotic with potential therapeutic capacity

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2018 May;102(10):4345-4354. doi: 10.1007/s00253-018-8934-4. Epub 2018 Mar 30.


Ficellomycin is an aziridine antibiotic produced by Streptomyces ficellus, which displays high in vitro activity against Gram-positive bacteria including multidrug resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus. Compared to currently available antibiotics, ficellomycin exhibits a unique mechanism of action-it impairs the semiconservative DNA replication by inducing the formation of deficient 34S DNA fragments, which lack the ability to integrate into larger DNA pieces and eventually the complete bacterial chromosome. Until recently, some important progress has been made in research on ficellomycin synthesis and biosynthesis, opening the perspective to develop a new generation of antibiotics with better clinical performance than the currently used ones. In this review, we will cover the discovery and biological activity of ficellomycin, its biosynthesis, mode of action, and related synthetic analogs. The role of ficellomycin and its analogs as an important source of drug prototypes will be discussed together with future research prospects.

Keywords: Antibiotics; Aziridine; Ficellomycin; MRSA; Streptomyces ficellus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / biosynthesis*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bacterial Infections / drug therapy
  • Drug Discovery
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial / drug effects
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Peptides / chemistry*
  • Peptides / pharmacology
  • Peptides / therapeutic use


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Peptides
  • ficellomycin