Antibiotics from rare actinomycetes, beyond the genus Streptomyces.

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Throughout the golden age of antibiotic discovery, Streptomyces have been unsurpassed for their ability to produce bioactive metabolites. Yet, this success has been hampered by rediscovery. As we enter a new stage of biodiscovery, omics data and existing scientific repositories can enable informed choices on the biodiversity that may yield novel antibiotics. Here, we focus on the chemical potential of rare actinomycetes, defined as bacteria within the order Actinomycetales, but not belonging to the genus Streptomyces. They are named as such due to their less-frequent isolation under standard laboratory practices, yet there is increasing evidence to suggest these biologically diverse genera harbour considerable biosynthetic and chemical diversity. In this review, we focus on examples of successful isolation and genera that have been the focus of more concentrated biodiscovery efforts, we survey the representation of rare actinomycete taxa, compared with Streptomyces, across natural product data repositories in addition to its biosynthetic potential. This is followed by an overview of clinically useful drugs produced by rare actinomycetes and considerations for future biodiscovery efforts. There is much to learn about these underexplored taxa, and mounting evidence suggests that they are a fruitful avenue for the discovery of novel antimicrobials.