Date of Award

Fall 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MSc)


Chemical Biology


Nathan Magarvey



Committee Member

Michael G. Surette, Paul H. M. Harrison


Nonribosomal peptides, polyketides, and fatty acids comprise a distinct subset of microbial secondary metabolites produced by similar biosynthetic methods and exhibit broad structural diversity with a high propensity for biological activity. Dedicated studies of these specific microbial small molecules have identified numerous potent actions towards human cells with many clinical translations. Interestingly, most therapeutically used nonribosomal peptides and polyketides were discovered from soil bacteria, meanwhile, bacteria that have co-evolved within a human context, the human microbiota, have barely been explored for secondary metabolites. The central goal of this thesis is to explore the secondary metabolome of human microbiota for nonribosomal peptides and polyketides, which are hypothesized to possess biological activities significant within the human host context. Candidate organisms were chosen for their established connections to human health and evidence suggestive of secondary metabolite production. Specifically, questions about gene to molecule prediction capability, metabolite production, structural diversity, and biological activity were explored from studies of the dental caries linked Streptococcus mutans UA159, from the probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum WCFS1, and the Crohn’s disease associated Faecalibacterium prausnitzii.

McMaster University Library

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