Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Molluscs vs. bacteria: New finding on marine natural products biosynthesis

Date:
July 25, 2013
Source:
Universidad de Barcelona
Summary:
The gastropod mollusc Scaphander lignarius -- a marine invertebrate found in North Atlantic and Mediterranean water -- is the first organism, besides bacteria, in which the biosynthesis of lignarenones, organic molecules involved in organism's chemical defence, has been identified.

The gastropod mollusc Scaphander lignarius -- a marine invertebrate found in North Atlantic and Mediterranean water -- is the first organism, besides bacteria, in which the biosynthesis of lignarenones, organic molecules involved in organism's chemical defence, has been identified. This is one of the main conclusions of an article published on the cover of the journal ChemBioChem.

Related Articles


Experts Conxita Àvila and Anna Domènech-Coll, from the Department of Animal Biology at the Faculty of Biology of the UB, affiliated centre with the campus of international excellence BKC, collaborated in the article, which is also signed by Guido Cimino, Angelo Fontana and Adele Cutignano (Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry, Naples), and other international experts.

Chemical strategies to survive on seabed

Opisthobranchs are a group of marine invertebrates that constitute a source of marine bioactive products. Scaphander lignarius is a benthic mollusc that belongs to the order Cephalaspidea -- the most primitive opisthobranchs -- and lives on moody sand bottoms. It is common to find this opisthobranch gastropod, which eats forams, polychaetes and small marine bivalves, in fishing trawlers' activity. In marine ecophysiology studies, it is a model to study chemical defence strategies -- with secondary metabolites -- to compensate the loss or reduction of its mechanical protection (shell).

Professor Conxita Àvila, who also coordinates Actiquim-II, a research project to study natural marine products in Antarctic ecosystems and determine their potential for use in pharmacological applications, points out that "lignarenones are secondary metabolites which work as potential alarm pheromones in natural ecosystems." "Secondary metabolites -- she adds -- are an extremely diverse group of natural compounds synthesized by organisms and molecules involved in ecological interactions among organisms and the environment."

Lignarenones synthesis: a link between bacteria and opisthobranchs

Organisms show a great variety of physiological adaptations to their habitat. The article published on the journal ChemBioChem reveals that this opisthobranch is able to synthetize lignarenones, a biological function that was exclusively associated to prokaryotes until now. Lignarenone biosynthesis revealed a polyketide pathway primed by benzoic acid in the cytoplasm of specialised eukaryotic cells. Besides identifying this biosynthesis route in Scaphander lignarius, the article also shows that polyketide biosynthesis is associated with specialised molluscan cells, Blochmann's glands, which are distributed in biosynthetic tissue localised in the vulnerable mantle of the mollusc.

The research extends scientific knowledge on the role that marine invertebrates play in natural products biosynthesis. "This is the first direct evidence -- highlights Conxita Àvila -- that confirms the biological ability of this group of marine invertebrates to synthetize this type of natural products. Therefore, this lineage of gastropods is genetically able to produce this type of metabolites, which are useful for their survival." According to the expert, "this ability is not derived from a symbiotic relationship with bacteria; the biosynthetic process suggests genetic convergence across different kingdoms."

Besides synthetizing lignarenones, Scaphander lignarius shares other ability with prokaryotes. The research also reports the first verification of a phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) activity -- an enzyme that takes part in the synthesis of those metabolites which play a major role in chemical defence -- in a biological group different from bacteria.

Searching for new marine-based drugs

Marine ecosystems are a great natural source of bioactive substances with potential uses in pharmaceutical sectors (antitumor agents, etc.). Nowadays, we know more than 20,000 substances derived from marine macro- and micro-organisms, but potential properties of marine natural products continue to be ignored. According to Professor Conxita Àvila, expert on marine invertebrates' chemical ecology, "besides the efforts made by research groups, the collaboration of pharmaceutical companies is necessary to find new marine biomolecules which provide solutions in the field of biomedicine."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Universidad de Barcelona. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Adele Cutignano, Conxita Avila, Annamaria Rosica, Giovanna Romano, Bruna Laratta, Anna Domenech-Coll, Guido Cimino, Ernesto Mollo, Angelo Fontana. Biosynthesis and Cellular Localization of Functional Polyketides in the Gastropod Mollusc Scaphander lignarius (ChemBioChem 12/2012). ChemBioChem, 2012; 13 (12): 1701 DOI: 10.1002/cbic.201290048

Cite This Page:

Universidad de Barcelona. "Molluscs vs. bacteria: New finding on marine natural products biosynthesis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130725091122.htm>.
Universidad de Barcelona. (2013, July 25). Molluscs vs. bacteria: New finding on marine natural products biosynthesis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 4, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130725091122.htm
Universidad de Barcelona. "Molluscs vs. bacteria: New finding on marine natural products biosynthesis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130725091122.htm (accessed March 4, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rare Goblin Shark Found in Australia

Rare Goblin Shark Found in Australia

AFP (Mar. 3, 2015) — A goblin shark, a rare sea creature described as an &apos;alien of the deep&apos; is found off Australia and delivered to the Australian Museum in Sydney. Duration: 01:25 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
500 Snakes Surprise Construction Workers In Canada

500 Snakes Surprise Construction Workers In Canada

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) — Hundreds of snakes, disturbed by a construction project, were relocated to a wildlife rescue association in Canada. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Going Gluten-Free Could Get You A Tax Break

Going Gluten-Free Could Get You A Tax Break

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) — If a doctor advises you to remove gluten from your diet, you could get a tax deduction on the amount you spend on gluten-free foods. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Zookeepers Copy Animal Poses In Hilarious Viral Photos

Zookeepers Copy Animal Poses In Hilarious Viral Photos

Buzz60 (Mar. 2, 2015) — Zookeepers at the Symbio Wildlife Park in Helensburgh, Australia decided to take some of their favorite animal photos and recreate them by posing just like the animals. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:  

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile iPhone Android Web
          Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins