Microbial Drugs

The majority of the medically important antibiotic drugs (including e.g., penicillins, cephalosporins, erythromycin, vancomycin, and daptomycin) are derived from secondary metabolites, which are produced by bacteria and filamentous fungi. Despite intensive world-wide efforts using alternative approaches based on synthetic chemistry, no other concept could so far surpass the historically successful strategy to exploit biologically active natural products as candidates for anti-infective drugs. The recently observed, increasing resistance of the human pathogens against antibiotics has prompted us to intensify our search for novel lead structures from microorganisms and fungi, which can be used as anti-infective drugs.



Dr Kathrin I. Mohr


Curriculum Vitae

since 3/2009
Scientist at the department „Microbial drugs“ HZI Braunschweig

Maternity leave

Scientist at “Experimental Phycology and Collection of Algae” (EPSAG) (Prof. T. Friedl; Georg-August University Gottingen) BMBF-Project: Biological soil crusts - Biodiversity, functional diversity, their environmental determinants and role in the ecosystem (BIOTA) and DFG - Project: Biodiversity and DNA - Taxonomy of Algae andCyanobacteria in calcifying Biofilms

PhD-student at the working group “Microbiology and Molecular Ecology” (Prof. C. C. Tebbe; Federal Institute of Agricultural Research Braunschweig)  BMBF-Project  (Rape joint research project): Bacteria in the gut of bees and their role in the spread of recombinant genes from pollen; Defence of the Doctoral thesis 06/2007 (Dr. rer. nat.; magna cum laude)    

Diploma Thesis: Laufkäfer im Lebensraum Elbaue - Freiland und Laboruntersuchungen, insbesondere an Poecilus cupreus (L., 1758) und Agonum marginatum (L., 1758) TU-Braunschweig, Prof. Otto Larink (magna cum laude)

- 2000:
Studies at the Technical University Carolo Wilhelmina, Braunschweig (Biology, Diploma)



My main focus is set on the detection and increase in production of new bacterial secondary metabolites. From our huge collection of gliding bacteria (particularly myxobacteria; see working group “Microbial Strain Collection”), strains showing bioactivity against Gram-positive or Gram-negative bacteria, yeasts, fungi or cell lines are selected for further investigation. But also new metabolites which do not show bioactivity in our internal test panel are of interest, because all new compounds are introduced in diverse test systems of numerous co-operation partners. Here formerly inactive substances can turn out to be a “hit”. By nature, production of secondary metabolites is often not sufficient. Higher yields of the desired compounds can be obtained by regulation of biotic and abiotic parameters like carbon or nitrogen sources, oxygen-concentration, temperature or pH etc. Furthermore, various parameters need to be optimized while upscale of the production cultures from shake flasks (100 ml) to fermenter (up to 1000 liter).

Another objective of my work is the isolation of new myxobacterial strains. Soil samples from all over the world and from diverse habitats (sampled in consideration of the Convention on Biological Diversity, 1992) are suitable to isolate myxobacteria. With different isolation techniques, it is possible to isolate new myxobacteria representing novel taxa, which are in particular promising sources of new metabolites.


Mohr KI (2018) Diversity of myxobacteria – we only see the tip of the iceberg.
Special Issue: Actinobacteria and Myxobacteria—Important Resources for Novel Antibiotics.  Microorganisms. 2018 Sep; 6(3): 84. 

Mohr KI, Wolf C, Nübel U, Szafranska A, Steglich M, Hennessen F, Gemperlein K, Kämpfer P, Martin K, Müller R, Wink J. (2018) A polyphasic approach leads to seven new species of the cellulose decomposing genus Sorangium, S. ambruticinum sp. nov., S. arenae sp. nov., S. bulgaricum sp. nov., S. dawidii sp. nov., S. kenyensis sp. nov., S. orintalis sp. nov., and  S. reichenbachii sp. nov.. IJSEM; 68(11):3576-3586. 

Mulwa LS, Jansen R, Praditya DF, Mohr KI, Okanya PW, Wink J, Steinmann E, Stadler M. (2018) Lanyamycin, a macrolide antibiotic from Sorangium cellulosum, strain Soce 481 (Myxobacteria). Beilstein J Org Chem. 26;14:1554-1562. 

Mohr KI, Wink J. (2018) Naturstoffproduzenten Myxobakterien - wir kennen nur die Spitze des Eisbergs. Biospektrum 1-2018

Mulwa LS, Jansen R, Praditya DF, Mohr KI, Wink J, Steinmann E, Stadler M. (2018) Six Heterocyclic Metabolites from the Myxobacterium Labilithrix luteola. Molecules, 28;23(3).

Wang T,  Mohr KI, Stadler M, Dickschat JS (2018) Volatiles from the tropical ascomycete Daldinia clavata (Hypoxylaceae, Xylariales). Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry, 12;14:135-147.

Mohr KI, Moradi A, Glaeser SP, Kämpfer P, Gemperlein K, Nübel U, Schumann P, Müller R, Wink J (2018) Nannocystis konarekensis sp. nov., a novel myxobacterium from an Iranian desert. IJSEM, 68(3):721-729.

Mohr KI, Zindler T, Wink J, Wilharm E, and Stadler M. (2017) Myxobacteria in high moor and fen: an astonishing diversity in a neglected extreme habitat. MicrobiologyOpen. doi: 10.1002/mbo3.464.

Moradi A, Ebrahimipour GH,  Mohr KI, Kämpfer P, Glaeser SP, Hennessen F, Gemperlein K, Awal RP, Wolf C, Müller R,  and Wink J (2017) Racemicystis iranensis sp. nov., a novel myxobacterium from Iranian soil. Accepted by IJSEM

Mohr KI (2016) History of antibiotics research. In: Curr Top Microbiol Immunol Springer EBook; 398: 237-272.

Mohr KI, Stechling M, Wink J, Wilharm E, Stadler M (2016) Comparison of Myxobacterial Diversity and Evaluation of Isolation Success in two niches: Kiritimati Island and German Compost. MicrobiologyOpen 5(2): 268-78.

Mohr KI and Wink J (2015) Von der Bodenprobe zum neuen Naturstoff. Bodenbakterien als erfolgreiche Antibiotikaproduzenten. GIT Laborjournal 11/15.

Lang E, Schumann P, Tindall BJ, Mohr KI, Spröer C (2015) Reclassification of Angiococcus disciformisCystobacter minus and Cystobacter violaceus as Archangium disciformis comb. nov., Archangium minus comb. nov. and Archangium violaceum comb. nov., unification of the families Archangiaceae and Cystobacteraceae, and emended descriptions of the families Myxococcaceae and Archangiaceae, the genus Archangium and the species Archangium gephyra.(accepted by International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology doi: 10.1099/ijsem.0.000533.

Karwehl S, Mohr KI, Jansen R, Sood S, Bernecker S, Stadler M (2015) Edonamides, the first secondary metabolites from the recently described Myxobacterium Aggregicoccus edonensis. Tetrahedron Letters 56: 6402–6404

Mohr KI, Volz C, Jansen R, Wray V, Bernecker S, Wink J, Gerth K, Stadler M, Müller R (2015) Pinensins: The first antifungal lantibiotics. Angewandte Chemie - International Edition. 54(38):11254-112548.

Sood SAwal RPWink JMohr KIRohde MStadler MKämpfer PGlaeser SSchumann PGarcia RMüller R. (2015) Aggregicoccus edonensis gen. nov., sp. nov., an unusually aggregating myxobacterium isolated from a soil sample. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 65, (3), 745-753.

Hodač L, Brinkmann N, Mohr  KI, Arp G, Hallmann C, Ramm J, Spitzer K, Friedl T. (2015) Diversity of microscopic green algae (Chlorophyta) in calcifying biofilms of two karstic streams in Germany. Geomicrobiology Journal 32, (3-4), 275-290.

Brinkmann N,  Hodač L , Mohr KI , Hodačová A,  Jahn R, Ramm J, Hallmann C, Arp G, Friedl T. (2015) Cyanobacteria and diatoms in biofilms of two karstic streams in Germany and changes of their communities along calcite saturation gradients. Geomicrobiology Journal 32, (3-4), 255-274.

Baumann S, Herrmann J, Raju R, Steinmetz H, Mohr KI, Hüttel S, Harmrolfs K, Stadler M, Müller R. (2014) Cystobactamids: Myxobacterial Topoisomerase Inhibitors Exhibiting Potent Antibacterial Activity. Angewandte Chemie - International Edition, 53, 14605-14609.

Müller R, Raju R, Mohr KI, Bernecker S, Herrmann J (2014) Cystodienoic acid: A new diterpene isolated from the myxobacterium, Cystobacter sp.. Journal of Antibiotics (Tokyo). 68 (7), 473-475.

Surup F, Viehrig K, Mohr KI, Jansen R, Herrmann J, Müller R (2014) Disciformycins A and B, unprecedented 12-membered Macrolide-Glycoside Antibiotics from the Myxobacterium Pyxidicoccus fallax active against multiresistant Staphylococci. Angewandte Chemie - International Edition 53, (49), 13588-13591.

Jansen R, Sood S, Mohr KI, Irschik H, Kunze B, Stadler M, Müller R. (2014) Nannozinones and Sorazinones, Unprecedented Pyrazinones from Myxobacteria. Journal of Natural Products 77, 2545-2552.

Sood S, Steinmetz H, Beims H, Djukic M, Mohr KI , Steinert M, Daniel R, Stadler M, Müller R. (2014) Paenilarvins, iturin family lipopeptides from the honey bee pathogen Paenibacillus larvae.  ChemBioChem 5; 15 (13): 1947-55.

Halecker SSurup FKuhnert EMohr KIBrock NLDickschat JSJunker CSchulz BStadler M (2014) Hymenosetin, a 3-decalinoyltetramic acid antibiotic from cultures of the ash dieback pathogen, Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidusPhytochemistry 100, 86-91.

Jansen, R; Mohr, KI, Bernecker, S; Stadler, M; Müller, R (2014) Indothiazinone, an Indolyl-Thiazolyl-Ketone from a Novel Myxobacterium belonging to the Sorangiineae. Journal of Natural Products 25, 77, (4), 1054-1060.

Okanya, P; Mohr, KI; Gerth, K; Kessler, W; Jansen, R; Stadler, M; Müller, R. (2014) Hyafurones, Hyapyrrolines and Hyapyrones: Polyketides from Hyalangium minutum (Myxobacteria). Journal of Natural Products 27, 77, (6), 1420-1429.

Thongbai B, Surup F, Mohr KI, Kuhnert E, Hyde KD, Stadler M (2013) Gymnopalynes A and B–Chloropropynyl-isocoumarin antibiotics from cultures of the basidiomycete Gymnopus sp.. Journal of Natural Products 76, (11), 2141–2144.

Surup F, Mohr KI, Jansen R, Stadler M (2013) Cohaerins G-K, azaphilone pigments from Annulohypoxylon cohaerens and absolute stereochemistry of cohaerins C-K. Phytochemistry 95, 252-258.

Steinmetz H, Mohr KI, Zander W, Jansen R, Gerth K, Müller R (2012) Indiacens A and B: Antibacterial and Antifungal Metabolites from the Novel Myxobacterium Sandaracinus amylolyticus. Journal of Natural Products 26, 75, (10), 1803-1805. 

Mohr KI, Garcia RO, Gerth K, Irschik H, Müller R (2012) Sandaracinus amylolyticus gen. nov., sp. nov., a starch-degrading soil myxobacterium, and description of Sandaracinaceae fam. nov.. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 62, 1191 – 1198.

Okanya PW, Mohr KI, Gerth K, Steinmetz H, Huch V, Jansen R, Müller R (2012)  Hyaladione, an S-Methyl Cyclohexadiene-dione from Hyalangium minutumJournal of Natural Products 75, 4, 768-770.

Zander W, Mohr KI, Gerth K, Jansen R, Müller R (2011a) p-Hydroxyacetophenone amides from Cystobacter ferrugineus, strain Cb G35. Journal of Natural Products 74, 1358-1363.

Zander W, Gerth K, Mohr KI, Kessler W, Jansen R, Müller R (2011b) Roimatacene, an antibiotic against gram-negative bacteria isolated from Cystobacter Cb G35 (myxobacteria). Chemistry 17, 7875-7881.

Abdel-Basset R, Friedl T, Mohr KI, Rybalka N, Martin W (2011) High growth rate, photosynthesis rate and increased hydrogen(ases) in manganese deprived cells of a newly isolated Nostoc-like cyanobacterium (SAG 2306). International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 36, 12200 – 12210.

Okanya PW, Mohr KI, Gerth K, Jansen R, Müller R (2011) Marinoquinolines A-F, Pyrroloquinolines from Ohtaekwangia kribbensis (Bacteroidetes). Journal of Natural Products 25, 74, (4), 603-608.

Mohr KI, Brinkmann N, Friedl T (2011) Cyanobacteria. In Encyclopedia of Geobiology, Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series, 306 – 311. 1st edn, Edited by J. Reitner and V. Thiel, The Netherlands: Springer.

Friedl T, Brinkmann N,  Mohr KI (2011) Algae (Eukaryotic). In Encyclopedia of Geobiology, Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series, 10 – 20. 1st edn, Edited by J. Reitner and V. Thiel, The Netherlands: Springer.

Brinkmann N, Friedl T, Mohr KI (2011) Diatoms. In Encyclopedia of Geobiology, Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series, 326 – 330. 1st edn, Edited by J. Reitner and V. Thiel, The Netherlands: Springer.

Arp G, Bissett A, Brinkmann N, Cousin S, de Beer D, Friedl T, Mohr KI, Neu TR, Reimer A, Shiraishi F, Stackebrandt E, Zippel B. (2010) Tufa-forming biofilms of German karstwater streams: Microorganisms, exopolymers, hydrochemistry and calcification. Geological Society Special Publication (Tufas and Speleothems: Unravelling the Microbial and Physical Controls; ed. by Mike Rogerson & Martyn M. Pedley), 336, 83-118.

Rybalka N, Andersen RA, Kostikov I, Mohr KI, Massalski A, Olech M, Friedl T. (2009) Testing for endemism, genotypic diversity and species concepts in Antarctic terrestrial microalgae of the Tribonemataceae (Stramenopiles, Xanthophyceae). Environmental Microbiology 11 (3), 554-65.

Büdel B, Darienko T, Deutschewitz K, Dojani S, Friedl T, Mohr KI, Salisch M, Reisser W, Weber B. (2009) Southern African biological soil crusts are ubiquitous and highly diverse in drylands, being restricted by rainfall frequency. Microbial Ecology 57 (2), 229-247.

Mohr KI, Tebbe CC (2007) Field study results on the probability and risk of a horizontal gene transfer from transgenic herbicide-resistant oilseed rape pollen to gut bacteria of bees. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 75, (3), 573-582.

Mohr KI, Tebbe CC (2006) Diversity and phylotype consistency of bacteria in the  guts of three bee species (Apoidea) at an oilseed rape field. Environmental Microbiology (2), 258-272.


List of patents

  1. Neosorangicins
  2. Pinensins – Novel Lantibiotics: EP14003280.6
  3. Cystobactamides – novel antibacterials against gram-negative pathogens: WO 2015003816A3
  4. Disciformycins – new Macrolide Antibiotics: EP14002319.3
  5. Roimatacene: US provisional: 61/425908



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