Compendium of specialized metabolite biosynthetic diversity encoded in bacterial genomes

Gavriilidou, Athina; Kautsar, Satria A.; Zaburannyi, Nestor; Krug, Daniel; Müller, Rolf; Medema, Marnix H.; Ziemert, Nadine


Bacterial specialized metabolites are a proven source of antibiotics and cancer therapies, but whether we have sampled all the secondary metabolite chemical diversity of cultivated bacteria is not known. We analysed ~170,000 bacterial genomes and ~47,000 metagenome assembled genomes (MAGs) using a modified BiG-SLiCE and the new clust-o-matic algorithm. We estimate that only 3% of the natural products potentially encoded in bacterial genomes have been experimentally characterized. We show that the variation in secondary metabolite biosynthetic diversity drops significantly at the genus level, identifying it as an appropriate taxonomic rank for comparison. Equal comparison of genera based on relative evolutionary distance revealed that Streptomyces bacteria encode the largest biosynthetic diversity by far, with Amycolatopsis, Kutzneria and Micromonospora also encoding substantial diversity. Finally, we find that several less-well-studied taxa, such as Weeksellaceae (Bacteroidota), Myxococcaceae (Myxococcota), Pleurocapsa and Nostocaceae (Cyanobacteria), have potential to produce highly diverse sets of secondary metabolites that warrant further investigation.