An atlas of bacterial secondary metabolite biosynthesis gene clusters

Environ Microbiol. 2021 Sep 7. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.15761. Online ahead of print.


Bacterial secondary metabolites are rich sources of novel drug leads. The diversity of secondary metabolite biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) in genome-sequenced bacteria, which will provide crucial information for the efficient discovery of novel natural products, has not been systematically investigated. Here, the distribution and genetic diversity of BGCs in 10,121 prokaryotic genomes (across 68 phyla) were obtained from their PRISM4 outputs using a custom python script. A total of 18,043 BGCs are detected from 5,743 genomes with nonribosomal peptide synthetases (25.4%) and polyketides (15.9%) as the dominant classes of BGCs. Bacterial strains harboring the largest number of BGCs are revealed and BGC count in strains of some genera vary greatly, suggesting the necessity of individually evaluating the secondary metabolism potential. Additional analysis against 102 strains of discovered bacterial genera with abundant amounts of BGCs confirms that Kutzneria, Kibdelosporangium, Moorea, Saccharothrix, Cystobacter, Archangium, Actinosynnema, Kitasatospora, and Nocardia, may also be important sources of natural products and worthy of priority investigation. Comparative analysis of BGCs within these genera indicates the great diversity and novelty of the BGCs. This study presents an atlas of bacterial secondary metabolite BGCs that provides lots of key information for the targeted discovery of novel natural products. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.