Natural products are the major source of currently available drugs. However, screening natural product presents several challenges, including the time-consuming and labor-intensive steps required for the isolation of a drug from crude extracts as well as the differences between the activities of compounds in vitro and in vivo. To address these challenges, we used silkworm larvae infected with Aspergillus fumigatus to screen a natural products library for potent drugs to treat invasive aspergillosis. A rationally designed library was constructed using numerous, geographically diverse fungal species and then screened to collect extracts of microorganisms that had detectable anti-Aspergillus activity. We evaluated this library using cultures of A. fumigatus and a silkworm model system of A. fumigatus infection. With this model, we identified the novel antifungal compound ASP2397 that not only cured infected silkworm larvae but also increased the rates of survival of mice infected with A. fumigatus. These findings strongly support the utility of the silkworm screening system for the simple and rapid isolation of antibiotics from natural products libraries.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
New antifungal drugs