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The Cyanobacterial Origin of Potent Anticancer Agents Originally Isolated from Sea Hares

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It is increasingly evident that the true biological origin of many metabolites originally isolated from certain marine macroorganisms is cyanobacterial. For example, several dolastatins, potent cytotoxic compounds originally derived from the sea hare Dolabella auricularia, have now been isolated from marine cyanobacteria of the genera Lyngbya and Symploca. This review discusses the isolation of dolastatins and close structural analogues from cyanobacteria. Biosynthetic signatures of metabolites isolated from sea hares, but which are most probably cyanobacterial in origin, are also presented. Finally, some more complex ecology involving movement of cyanobacterial metabolites through the marine food web is presented.
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Keywords: Dolabella; Lyngbya; Marine cyanobacteria; Symploca; cytotoxins; dolastatins; sea hares; secondary metabolites

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: 01 October 2002

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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