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Intact Genomics Wins $1.5M NIH Grant for Natural Products Discovery System

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Intact Genomics has been awarded a $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue development of a fungal-based natural products discovery system.

The system is designed to identify intact secondary metabolite gene clusters for natural product discovery in Aspergillus nidulans, a filamentous soil fungus widely used as a model organism. It uses a proprietary technology called fungal artificial chromosome — or FAC —  that enables the capture of large intact sequences of fungal DNA, which can then be analyzed to determine if it is likely to contain a secondary metabolite-producing gene clusters. Once identified, the clusters are heterologously expressed in A. nidulans in order to generate metabolites with potential utility.

The FAC technology was described in a 2017 paper published in Nature Chemical Biology.

With the two-year grant — which is being funded by the NIH's National Center for Complementary & Integrative Health — St. Louis-based Intact aims to further develop the system as a platform for the discovery of compounds for biomedical and agricultural applications. It will conduct the work with collaborators from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Northwestern University.