This project describes the investigation of marine cyanobacteria collected from the Red Sea with an emphasis on the identification and prioritization of biologically active fractions for future purification and molecular structure elucidation of medicinally relevant secondary metabolites.
Five crude extracts of taxonomically unidentified Red Sea cyanobacteria supplied by Egyptian collaborators were fractionated by chromatographic means and screened for anticancer activities using whole cell biological assays. Only three extracts yielded collectively five cytotoxic active fractions containing chemical compounds with different molecular weights. Further spectrometric and spectroscopic analysis showed that fraction Enq02F-2 contained a compound that had a similar molecular weight, UV absorption properties, and polarity to another bioactive compound isolated previously from a different cyanobacterial crude extract by graduate student Chris Thornburg. This compound is a cyclic depsipeptide closely related to other cyanobacterial natural products derived from Caribbean species of Lyngbya cyanobacteria.
Key Words: natural products, secondary metabolites, cyanobacteria, cancer therapeutic