Secondary metabolites have been firmly established as importantbiological compounds, capable of benefitting as well as harming biologicalorganisms. Thus, their usages are broad and comprehensive. Recently, a newclass of secondary metabolites in fungi has been discovered by a Japaneseresearch team, which, if true, might expose a wide range of beneficialcompounds. Thus, the target of this paper is to validate their claims andprovide a firm ground of evidence for this new class. In this review, we followed their steps origination with…IntroductionHumanity has since the invention of the firstantibiotic, Penicillin, experienced a remarkable population growth. This is dueto many different factors, but improved survivability of bacterial diseasesmust be regarded as one, if not the most important. The potency andavailability of antibiotics have made them an abundant success, but,paradoxically, also, partially, lead to their own demise. Utilization ofantibiotics create an exceptionally strong selective pressure, favoringresistant bacteria, which grows immensely after treatment, since theirmetabolic needs are easier to sustain as a result of diminished competitionfrom non-resistant bacteria.
This paradox means that new antibiotics mustalways be in the pipeline to stay one step ahead. Large medical companies are advised by civilians, politicians anddoctors to expand and sustain the antibiotic pipeline, but not many respond tothese requests. In the golden years, antibioticswere harvested from common organisms,such as bacteria or fungi, as they often produce compounds, secondarymetabolites, which kill or hinder survivability of foreign bacteria. Differentclasses of secondary metabolites lead to the discovery of different types ofantibiotics and initially suitable antibiotics were plentiful.
The ease ofwhich new antibiotics was found, made it cheap and thus the economic incentivewas large. Now, most suitable antibiotics in common organisms have been found andcompanies must instead search for suitable antibiotics in alien environmentssuch as in the blood of Komodo dragons, caves, etc.. The low hanging fruitsappear to have been harvested and finding suitable antibiotics today is acostly struggle.
However, a recent scientific paper published by a Japanese research teamhas sparked interest in a common, well researched and in many waysnon-extraordinary fungus, coined Aspergillus. In this fungus they discoveredthat a specific class of secondary metabolite, a ribosomal originating peptide (RiPP),was in fact expressed. Considering, this has never been proven before, despitethorough research, this is indeed a significant discovery and as manyantibiotics stem from proteins, this raise hopes that new antibiotics or otherpharmaceutical compounds could be yielded from this class.
Combined with theease of availability and comprehensive contemporary genomic knowledge of thisfungi, medical companies might be more inclined to invest in research of newantibiotics in this fungi. Those are the hopes of the authors and to spike evenmore interest, this paper will try to reaffirm the Japanese claims. If the newprotein class in aspergillus result in successful pharmaceutical such as a newantibiotic, it won’t solve the resistance issue, but It might provide amuch-needed breathing space – and therefore, it is of highest interest.