Matt’s group works on the specialised metabolites made by Streptomyces species and closely related actinomycete bacteria, which include more than half of all known antibiotics.
They are particularly interested in the chemical ecology of these bacteria and their natural products.
For example, antibiotic-producing actinomycete bacteria interact with insects and plants and protect them against infection by pathogenic bacteria and fungi in return for food and housing. This is called a defensive mutualism (mutually beneficial symbiosis).
Understanding these interactions will help find new and useful natural products, including new antibiotics, and will also help protect important crop plants against disease.
Worsley SF,Newitt J,Rassbach J,Batey SFD,Holmes NA,Murrell JC,Wilkinson B,Hutchings MI (2020)Streptomyces Endophytes Promote Host Health and Enhance Growth across Plant Species.Applied and environmental microbiologyPublisher's version: 0099-2240
Hutchings M., Truman A. W., Wilkinson B. (2019)Antibiotics: past, present and future.Current Opinion in Microbiology (51)Publisher's version: 1369-5274
Heine D., Holmes N. A., Worsley S. F., Santos A. C. A., Innocent T. M., Scherlach K., Patrick E. H., Yu D. W., Murrell J. C., Vieria P. C., Boomsma J. J., Hertweck C., Hutchings M. I., Wilkinson B. (2018)Chemical warfare between leafcutter ant symbionts and a co-evolved pathogen.Nature communications (9)Publisher's version: 2041-1723