Insights into red sea brine pool specialized metabolism gene clusters encoding potential metabolites for biotechnological applications and extremophile survival

Funding Sponsor

American University in Cairo

Author's Department

Biology Department

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Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Marine Drugs

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© 2019 by the Authors. The recent rise in antibiotic and chemotherapeutic resistance necessitates the search for novel drugs. Potential therapeutics can be produced by specialized metabolism gene clusters (SMGCs). We mined for SMGCs in metagenomic samples from Atlantis II Deep, Discovery Deep and Kebrit Deep Red Sea brine pools. Shotgun sequence assembly and secondary metabolite analysis shell (antiSMASH) screening unraveled 2751 Red Sea brine SMGCs, pertaining to 28 classes. Predicted categorization of the SMGC products included those (1) commonly abundant in microbes (saccharides, fatty acids, aryl polyenes, acyl-homoserine lactones), (2) with antibacterial and/or anticancer effects (terpenes, ribosomal peptides, non-ribosomal peptides, polyketides, phosphonates) and (3) with miscellaneous roles conferring adaptation to the environment/special structure/unknown function (polyunsaturated fatty acids, ectoine, ladderane, others). Saccharide (80.49%) and putative (7.46%) SMGCs were the most abundant. Selected Red Sea brine pool sites had distinct SMGC profiles, e.g., for bacteriocins and ectoine. Top promising candidates, SMs with pharmaceutical applications, were addressed. Prolific SM-producing phyla (Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Cyanobacteria), were ubiquitously detected. Sites harboring the largest numbers of bacterial and archaeal phyla, had the most SMGCs. Our results suggest that the Red Sea brine niche constitutes a rich biological mine, with the predicted SMs aiding extremophile survival and adaptation.

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