Biosynthetic genes of natural products (NP) are found in clusters in bacteria, being the non-ribosomal peptides and polyketides two families of compounds that have arousing great interest in the scientific community due to their great diversity of structures and functions with pharmacological and industrial importance. In this sense, understanding the diversity and which environmental factors shape the distribution of NP biosynthetic genes may provide important knowledge for bioprospecting studies and the discovery of new compounds. Besides, it can provide unprecedented information on microbial functions in response to the selective pressures faced on different ecosystems. In this context, microbiomes from extreme environments, such as Antarctica, should receive special attention, since microorganisms in extreme environments may present unique biosynthetic pathways in response to severe environmental conditions, which may lead to the discovery of new natural products of interest. Recent studies have shown that Antarctica harbor clusters of endemic genes that encode non-ribosomal peptide synthetase and polyketide synthetase enzymes, responsible for the synthesis of non-ribosomal peptides and polyketides, respectively, which may represent new natural products. However, the diversity of NP biosynthetic gene clusters in Antarctica is still poorly explored. In this scenario, the present project aims to mine datasets derived from shotgun sequencing (metagenome mining) of sediment, soil and snow samples from different regions from the islands of the South Shetland archipelago, Maritime Antarctic, to investigate the diversity of biosynthetic gene clusters fro natural products and their biogeographic distribution on a regional and global scale.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: