The potential of amoeba-based processes for natural product syntheses.
The identification of novel platform organisms for the production and discovery of small molecules is of high interest for the pharmaceutical industry. In particular, the structural complexity of most natural products with therapeutic potential restricts an industrial production since chemical syntheses often require complex multistep routes. The amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum can be easily cultivated in bioreactors due to its planktonic growth behavior and contains numerous polyketide and terpene synthase genes with only a few compounds being already elucidated. Hence, the amoeba both bears a wealth of hidden natural products and allows for the development of new bioprocesses for existing pharmaceuticals. In this mini review, we present D. discoideum as a novel platform for the production of complex secondary metabolites and discuss its suitability for industrial processes. We also provide initial insights into future bioprocesses, both involving bacterial coculture setups and for the production of plant-based pharmaceuticals.