Integrating ‘-omics’ and natural product discovery platforms to investigate metabolic exchange in microbiomes
The microbiome is an abundance of microorganisms within a host (e.g. human microbiome). These microorganisms produce small molecules and metabolites that have been shown to affect and dictate the physiology of an individual. Functional knowledge of these molecules, often produced for communication or defense, will reveal the interplay between microbes and host in health and disease. The vast diversity in structure and function of microbiome-associated small molecules necessitate tools that will utilize multiple ‘-omics’ strategies to understand the interactions within the human microbiome. This review discusses the importance of these investigations and the integration of current ‘-omics’ technologies with tools established in natural product discovery in order to identify and characterize uncharacterized small molecules in the effort towards diagnostic modeling of the human microbiome.