Advanced identification of global bioactivity hotspots via screening of the metabolic fingerprint of entire ecosystems

Constanze Mueller, Stephan Georg Kremb, Michael Gonsior, Ruth Brack-Werner, Christian R. Voolstra, Philippe Schmitt-Kopplin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Natural products (NP) are a valuable drug resource. However, NP-inspired drug leads are declining, among other reasons due to high re-discovery rates. We developed a conceptual framework using the metabolic fngerprint of entire ecosystems (MeE) to facilitate the discovery of global bioactivity hotspots. We assessed the MeE of 305 sites of diverse aquatic ecosystems, worldwide. All samples were tested for antiviral efects against the human immunodefciency virus (HIV), followed by a comprehensive screening for cell-modulatory activity by High-Content Screening (HCS). We discovered a very strong HIV-1 inhibition mainly in samples taken from fords with a strong terrestrial input. Multivariate data integration demonstrated an association of a set of polyphenols with specifc biological alterations (endoplasmic reticulum, lysosomes, and NFkB) caused by these samples. Moreover, we found strong HIV-1 inhibition in one unrelated oceanic sample closely matching to HIV1-inhibitory drugs on a cytological and a chemical level. Taken together, we demonstrate that even without physical purifcation, a sophisticated strategy of diferential fltering, correlation analysis, and multivariate statistics can be employed to guide chemical analysis, to improve de-replication, and to identify ecosystems with promising characteristics as sources for NP discovery.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 28 2020

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01


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