Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

Biosynthetic investigations of two secondary metabolites from the marine cyanobacterium Lyngbya majuscula

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  • Marine cyanobacteria have been shown to produce a variety of biologically active and stucturally diverse secondary metabolites. These compounds are of interest to natural products researchers mainly because of their potential application as biomedicinals, biochemical probes, and agrichemicals. The metabolic pathways utilized by the cyanobacterium Lyngbya majuscula to generate curacin A, a potent antimitotic and its cometabolite, the molluscicidal barbamide, have been studied. Application of methods including radioisotope and stable isotope labeling have revealed the role of acetate and the amino acids methionine, valine, cysteine, and leucine as potential precursors in the biosynthesis of curacin and barbamide. An analytical technique based upon GC-EIMS methodology has also been developed to monitor the production levels of curacin A from cultures of Lyngbya majuscula with respect to growth. This method which makes use of the thiazole analog of curacin A, curazole as an internal standard, has also been preliminarily applied to the curacin A production in response to environmental factors associated with changes in geographical locations at or near sites where the original collections of the cyanophyte were made in Curacao, Netherlands Antillies. This was performed by a series of transplantation experiments envolving high and trace curacin A producing strains of L. majuscula. Interest in the bioactive profile of curacin A prompted a pilot scale up of the cultured tissue for isolation of the metabolite. These efforts provided a framework of methods that can be used industrially to obtain large quantites of the compound to meet possible future pharmaceutical or dignostics demands.
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