Open Access
Antimycobacterials from natural sources: ancient times, antibiotic era and novel scaffolds
Juan D Guzman1,Antima Gupta1,Franz Bucar1,Simon Gibbons1,Sanjib Bhakta1
Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology, Department of Biological Sciences, Birkbeck, University of London, London WC1E 7HX, UK
DOI: 10.2741/4024 Volume 17 Issue 5, pp.1861-1881
Published: 01 January 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pulmonary surfactant in human health and disease)

Mycobacteria are a group of aerobic, non-motile, acid fast bacteria that have a characteristic cell wall composed of a mycolyl-arabinogalactan-peptidoglycan complex. They display different phenotypic attributes in their growth, color and biochemistry. Tuberculosis (TB) is defined as the infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex and was declared a global health emergency principally because of the appearance of multidrug-resistant strains and the associated risk of infection in immune-compromised population. There is an urgent clinical need for novel, potent and safe anti-TB drugs. Natural products have been used since antiquity for treating diverse complaints and novel pharmacophores are discovered every year. Two of the most potent used antimycobacterials, the rifamycins and streptomycin, were first detected in Streptomyces bacteria. Plants are also the source of an exquisite variety of antimicrobials that can lead to useful therapeutics in the future. In this review, natural preparations used since antiquity for treating tuberculosis are described, together with a rapid view of the 20th century antibiotic development against TB. Finally a summary of the most potent recent natural antimycobacterials is displayed.

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Juan D Guzman, Antima Gupta, Franz Bucar, Simon Gibbons, Sanjib Bhakta. Antimycobacterials from natural sources: ancient times, antibiotic era and novel scaffolds. Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark. 2012. 17(5); 1861-1881.