Satoshi Omura

Kitasato University

Primary Section: 61, Animal, Nutritional, and Applied Microbial Sciences
Secondary Section: 14, Chemistry
Membership Type:
International Member (elected 1999)

Research Interests

As a microbial chemist, I have isolated many microorganisms and discovered useful bioactive substances produced by them. By establishing original screening systems in addition to improving isolation and fermentation methods of microorganisms, I have found more than 300 new compounds and achieved interesting results such as effective usage of the metabolites. My coworkers and I have conducted basic research on structure elucidation, mode of action, biosynthesis, gene manipulation, and organic synthesis of our new bioactive compounds. Among the numerous compounds we discovered, several, including avermectin, nanaomycin, rokitamycin, and tilmicosin, have been used worldwide as medicines, drugs for animal use, or agrochemicals. Others, such as staurosporine, triacsin, herbimycin, cerulenin, and lactacystin have been widely used as reagents in biochemical and molecular biological research. We have also focused on gastrointestinal motor stimulating activity, a side effect of erythromycin, and have created "motilides," pharmaceutically interesting compounds. More recently, we have elucidated the detailed biosynthetic pathway of avermectin by complete sequence analysis of the entire gene cluster for avermectin biosynthesis and are carrying out the genome analysis of its producing organism, Streptomyces avermitilis.

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