Review Recent developments in bisintercalator natural products

Olga E. Zolova, Ahmed S.A. Mady, Sylvie Garneau-Tsodikova

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


The bisintercalator natural products are a family of nonribosomal peptides possessing a range of biological properties that include antiviral, antibiotic, and anticancer activities. The name bisintercalator is derived from the ability to directly bind to duplex DNA through two planar intercalating moieties. Although 19 members of this family of compounds have been identified over the past 50 years, the biosynthetic genes responsible for the formation of four of these molecules (thiocoraline, SW-163, triostin A, and echinomycin) were identified only recently. This recent progress opens an avenue towards understanding how Nature produces these bisintercalating products and provides the potential to develop and identify novel potent analogous lead compounds for clinical applications. This review discusses the mode of action of bisintercalators and summarizes recent genetic and biochemical insights into their biosynthetic production, analog formation, and possible mechanisms by which resistance to these compounds is achieved by their producing organisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)777-790
Number of pages14
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Biosynthesis
  • Bisintercalators
  • Nonribosomal peptides
  • Resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • Organic Chemistry


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