Comparative mass spectrometry-based metabolomics strategies for the investigation of microbial secondary metabolites
Covering: 2000 to 2016
The labor-intensive process of microbial natural product discovery is contingent upon identifying discrete secondary metabolites of interest within complex biological extracts, which contain inventories of all extractable small molecules produced by an organism or consortium. Historically, compound isolation prioritization has been driven by observed biological activity and/or relative metabolite abundance and followed by dereplication via accurate mass analysis. Decades of discovery using variants of these methods has generated the natural pharmacopeia but also contributes to recent high rediscovery rates. However, genomic sequencing reveals substantial untapped potential in previously mined organisms, and can provide useful prescience of potentially new secondary metabolites that ultimately enables isolation. Recently, advances in comparative metabolomics analyses have been coupled to secondary metabolic predictions to accelerate bioactivity and abundance-independent discovery work flows. In this review we will discuss the various analytical and computational techniques that enable MS-based metabolomic applications to natural product discovery and discuss the future prospects for comparative metabolomics in natural product discovery.