Production of bioactive secondary metabolites by marine Vibrionaceae

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Bacteria belonging to the Vibrionaceae family are widespread in the marine environment. Today, 128 species of vibrios are known. Several of them are infamous for their pathogenicity or symbiotic relationships. Despite their ability to interact with eukaryotes, the vibrios are greatly underexplored for their ability to produce bioactive secondary metabolites and studies have been limited to only a few species. Most of the compounds isolated from vibrios so far are non-ribosomal peptides or hybrids thereof, with examples of N-containing compounds produced independent of nonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPS). Though covering a limited chemical space, vibrios produce compounds with attractive biological activities, including antibacterial, anticancer, and antivirulence activities. This review highlights some of the most interesting structures from this group of bacteria. Many compounds found in vibrios have also been isolated from other distantly related bacteria. This cosmopolitan occurrence of metabolites indicates a high incidence of horizontal gene transfer, which raises interesting questions concerning the ecological function of some of these molecules. This account underlines the pending potential for exploring new bacterial sources of bioactive compounds and the challenges related to their investigation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMarine Drugs
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1440-1468
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Marine bacteria
  • Vibrio
  • Bioactive
  • Antibiotics
  • Siderophores


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