DOI: 10.3390/antibiotics12081250 ISSN: 2079-6382

Beyond Penicillin: The Potential of Filamentous Fungi for Drug Discovery in the Age of Antibiotic Resistance

João Correia, Anabela Borges, Manuel Simões, Lúcia C. Simões
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
  • Biochemistry
  • Microbiology

Antibiotics are a staple in current medicine for the therapy of infectious diseases. However, their extensive use and misuse, combined with the high adaptability of bacteria, has dangerously increased the incidence of multi-drug-resistant (MDR) bacteria. This makes the treatment of infections challenging, especially when MDR bacteria form biofilms. The most recent antibiotics entering the market have very similar modes of action to the existing ones, so bacteria rapidly catch up to those as well. As such, it is very important to adopt effective measures to avoid the development of antibiotic resistance by pathogenic bacteria, but also to perform bioprospecting of new molecules from diverse sources to expand the arsenal of drugs that are available to fight these infectious bacteria. Filamentous fungi have a large and vastly unexplored secondary metabolome and are rich in bioactive molecules that can be potential novel antimicrobial drugs. Their production can be challenging, as the associated biosynthetic pathways may not be active under standard culture conditions. New techniques involving metabolic and genetic engineering can help boost antibiotic production. This study aims to review the bioprospection of fungi to produce new drugs to face the growing problem of MDR bacteria and biofilm-associated infections.

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