PMS-ICBG focuses on microbes associated with mollusks as sources of novel bioactive molecules. In many cases, bacterial symbionts are highly adapted to their host, and have complex interactions with their hosts and other organisms in the habitat. Molecules that are employed in these interactions have been selected through evolution for useful activities, and low toxicity to the host, and thus are ideal candidates for drug development. In our past research we have made a series of discoveries about mollusk symbiosis that inform our search for drugs, and give us insight into the biodiversity of mollusks. In this project we will investigate the microbial communities of mollusks, study the interactions among microbes associated with mollusks, and discover the spatial distribution of mollusk symbiont bioactive molecules to understand their roles in the symbiosis. Insights from these studies will be used to guide the drug discovery efforts in designing bacterial isolation methods, selecting strains likely to produce valuable compounds, and eliciting metabolite production. This AP is led by Margo Haygood, with participation from Daniel Distel, Eric Schmidt, Hiroaki Naka and Roberta O'Connor.
AP2 Bacteria that live intimately with their animal hosts produce chemicals that affect the host health and protect the host from diseases. This project investigates the way in which bacteria that live with mollusks make and use these chemicals, and provides insights that will be used in other parts of the Philippine Mollusk Symbiont ICBG to discover drugs for pain, cancer and infections.