An ecological perspective of microbial secondary metabolism
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Bacteria and fungi produce a remarkable array of bioactive small molecules. Many of these have found use in medicine as chemotherapies to treat diseases ranging from infection and cancer to hyperlipidemia and autoimmune disorders. The applications may or may not reflect the actual targets for these compounds. Through careful studies of microbes, their associated molecules and their targets, a growing understanding of the ecology of microbial secondary metabolism is emerging that exposes the central role of secondary metabolites in many complex biological systems.
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