“What are the molecular structures of “Splendid Gifts from Microorganisms”? Analysis is faster and easier now!
Jul 01, 2023
Director, ProfessorOmura Satoshi Memorial InstituteGraduate School of Infection Control SciencesKitasato University Prof. Toshiaki Sunazuka Omura Satoshi Memorial Institute, Kitasato University has continued to discover new compounds every year, taking over the research theme of Dr. Satoshi Omura, a Nobel Prize winner in Physiology or Medicine in 2015. We interviewed Prof. Sunazuka, Director, about his research to find natural products that are produced by microorganisms for evaluation of their biological properties to discover drug lead compounds. Going to isolated islands and the abyssal zone to discover unprecedented microorganisms “The Omura Group is interested in unusual places where we could find new microorganisms: Isolated islands, the abyssal zone in the sea, and even places such as hot springs…”. Prof. Sunazuka, Director of Omura Satoshi Memorial Institute, Kitasato University explained the reason to search for unknown microorganisms. Some microorganisms produce secondary metabolites (bioactive substances) that serve as defensive to other living organisms. These compounds are essentially weapons for microorganisms to survive against their “enemies,” for example other competitive microorganisms for their living positions. However, those secondary metabolites often have the medicinal potential that could also be beneficial for mankind. As an example, Merck & Co. investigated actinomycetes found in the soil collected by…