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Researchers discover new microbe near Chilean coastal fault line

A team of researchers from McMaster and the University of Concepción are shining a light on rare sulfur-loving microbes off the coast of Chile.

The group's work near coastal fault lines has identified a previously unknown type of molecule, macplocimine A, which produces valuable natural chemicals that are known to function as effective cancer therapies and antibiotics.

"The search for new drugs takes many forms and routes, but one that often has success is the search for microbes," said Nathan Magarvey, a researcher with the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, and project leader in Chile. "The fascination of finding drugs from natural sources has long been guided by serendipity alone, but now researchers are defining genomic and metabolomic patterns that illustrate where new drugs may be found and how these drugs are made and change."

Magarvey led the study with McMaster research associates Xiang Li and Wenliang Wang from the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, and Rostyslav Zvanych, Stephanie Vanner and Morgan Wyatt from the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology.

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