Discovery of Ibomycin, a Complex Macrolactone that Exerts Antifungal Activity by Impeding Endocytic Trafficking and Membrane Function

Natural products are invaluable historic sources of drugs for infectious diseases; however, the discovery of novel antimicrobial chemical scaffolds has waned in recent years. Concurrently, there is a pressing need for improved therapeutics to treat fungal infections. We employed a co-culture screen to identify ibomycin, a large polyketide macrolactone that has preferential killing activity against Cryptococcus neoformans. Using chemical and genome methods, we determined the structure of ibomycin and identi- fied the biosynthetic cluster responsible for its synthesis. Chemogenomic profiling coupled with cell biological assays link ibomycin bioactivity to membrane function. The preferential activity of ibomycin toward C. neoformans is due to the ability of the compound to selectively permeate its cell wall. These results delineate a novel antifungal agent that is produced by one of the largest documented biosynthetic clusters to date and underscore the fact that there remains significant untapped chemical diversity of natural products with application in antimicrobial research.

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Thursday, December 8, 2016
New antifungal drugs