Getting on the Track of Nature - Chemical Diversity and Regulation Activity
A primary goal of our natural products research is to get further insights into the secondary metabolism of microorganisms and to generate a novel diversity of secondary metabolites. The research is based on previous work with biological derivatisation methods to enhance the diversity of secondary metabolites from microorganisms. We are interested in a new approach to novel metabolites by extension to genetic studies in interdisciplinary projects. Regulation acitivties concerning differentiation mechanisms and the investigation of the biosynthesis of metabolites is of our interest. For our aims Aspergillus sp., Streptomyces sp. and some other microorganisms with marked differentiation activities are selected.
In a collaboration with the Institute of Molecular Microbiology/Göttingen we investigate the regulation activity on differentiation processes of selected known metabolites from Aspergillus sp. and follow an assay-guided screening for new compounds. The basis are genetical investigations of the in vivo synthesis of metabolites and the aim is to identify the involved genes.
Streptomyces strains which produce members of the plecomacrolide family, e.g. concanamycin, elaiophylin are investigated concerning their biosynthesis. A certain number of new isolated Streptomyces strains is cultivated with special techniques to find new secondary metabolites.The screening comprises chemical and biological methods. The biosynthesis of metabolites begins with feeding experiments with stable isotopes. Chemical derivatisation of metabolites is chosen with respect to investigations on structure-activity-relationships.
The main focus are isolation, structure elucidation and chemical characterization of the new secondary metabolites. Concise strategies to elucidate structures incorporate established methods of HPLC, modern spectroscopy (e.g. 2-D-NMR, MS/MS) and data bases. Our institute of bioorganic chemistry houses own microbiological technology besides chemical laboratories and an S1-security lab. Microbiological work revolves around stock cultures, cultivations in flasks and in various stirring vessels or an air-loop fermentor. Different whole cell assays are carried out. Additionally we work on a broad exploitation of the biological activity of the natural compounds with therapeutic targets in interdisciplinary cooperations with external research groups.