Exploiting Marine Actinomycete Diversity for Natural Product Discovery

R/NMP-100
Start/End: February, 2010 to January, 2013

Significant progress has been made in understanding the evolution of secondary metabolite genes associated with a group of pharmaceutically promising marine bacteria known as MAR4, collected off the coast of California. Scientists have also, notably, described the biosynthesis of hybrid isoprenoids (including the promising anti-inflammatory compound cyclomarin) and characterized novel biosynthetic enzymes associated with producing them. In experiments with halogenated meroterpenoids, enzymes that add chlorine to molecules, chemists discovered three new chloroperoxidases. These compound are of pharmacological interest because of their ability to enhance the bioactivity of molecules, meaning they can enhance the efficacy of medicines. Current efforts are centering on their in vivo and in vitro characterizations, with the goal being to apply novel marine enzymes as biocatalysts. Such work opens the door to being able to engineer, new antibiotics or anticancer therapies.

  • University of California, San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Co-principal Investigators

  • University of California, San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography