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Mar. Drugs, Volume 15, Issue 10 (October 2017)

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Open AccessArticle Brown Algae Padina sanctae-crucis Børgesen: A Potential Nutraceutical
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 251; doi:10.3390/md15100251
Received: 1 July 2017 / Revised: 24 July 2017 / Accepted: 7 August 2017 / Published: 26 September 2017
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Abstract
Padina sanctae-crucis Børgesen is distributed worldwide in tropical and subtropical seas; belongs to the Dictyotaceae family, and has proven to be an exceptional source of biologically active compounds. Four compounds were isolated and identified, namely: dolastane diterpene new for the genus Padina;
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Padina sanctae-crucis Børgesen is distributed worldwide in tropical and subtropical seas; belongs to the Dictyotaceae family, and has proven to be an exceptional source of biologically active compounds. Four compounds were isolated and identified, namely: dolastane diterpene new for the genus Padina; phaeophytin and hidroxy-phaeophytin new for the family Dictyotaceae, and; mannitol first described in this species. Saturated fatty acids as compared to the percentages of unsaturated fatty acids were shown to be present in greater abundance. Palmitic and linolenic acid were the main saturated and unsaturated acids, respectively. Cytotoxic and antioxidant activities were evaluated using human erythrocytes. In vivo evaluations of acute toxicity and genotoxicity were performed in mice. Methanolic extract of P. sanctae-crucis presented antioxidant activity and did not induce cytotoxicity, genotoxicity or acute toxicity. Since Padina sanctae-crucis is already used as food, has essential fatty acids for the nutrition of mammals, does not present toxicity and has antioxidant activity, it can be considered as a potential nutraceutical. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods)
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Open AccessArticle Metabolic Engineering of Escherichia coli for Producing Astaxanthin as the Predominant Carotenoid
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 296; doi:10.3390/md15100296
Received: 4 August 2017 / Revised: 17 September 2017 / Accepted: 20 September 2017 / Published: 22 September 2017
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Abstract
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid of significant commercial value due to its superior antioxidant potential and wide applications in the aquaculture, food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. A higher ratio of astaxanthin to the total carotenoids is required for efficient astaxanthin production. β-Carotene ketolase and
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Astaxanthin is a carotenoid of significant commercial value due to its superior antioxidant potential and wide applications in the aquaculture, food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. A higher ratio of astaxanthin to the total carotenoids is required for efficient astaxanthin production. β-Carotene ketolase and hydroxylase play important roles in astaxanthin production. We first compared the conversion efficiency to astaxanthin in several β-carotene ketolases from Brevundimonas sp. SD212, Sphingomonas sp. DC18, Paracoccus sp. PC1, P. sp. N81106 and Chlamydomonas reinhardtii with the recombinant Escherichia coli cells that synthesize zeaxanthin due to the presence of the Pantoea ananatis crtEBIYZ. The B. sp. SD212 crtW and P. ananatis crtZ genes are the best combination for astaxanthin production. After balancing the activities of β-carotene ketolase and hydroxylase, an E. coli ASTA-1 that carries neither a plasmid nor an antibiotic marker was constructed to produce astaxanthin as the predominant carotenoid (96.6%) with a specific content of 7.4 ± 0.3 mg/g DCW without an addition of inducer. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Marine Carotenoids)
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Protonation State and N-Acetylation of Chitosan on Its Interaction with Xanthan Gum: A Molecular Dynamics Simulation Study
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 298; doi:10.3390/md15100298
Received: 17 August 2017 / Revised: 17 September 2017 / Accepted: 20 September 2017 / Published: 25 September 2017
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Abstract
Hydrophilic matrices composed of chitosan (CS) and xanthan gum (XG) complexes are of pharmaceutical interest in relation to drug delivery due to their ability to control the release of active ingredients. Molecular dynamics simulations (MDs) have been performed in order to obtain information
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Hydrophilic matrices composed of chitosan (CS) and xanthan gum (XG) complexes are of pharmaceutical interest in relation to drug delivery due to their ability to control the release of active ingredients. Molecular dynamics simulations (MDs) have been performed in order to obtain information pertaining to the effect of the state of protonation and degree of N-acetylation (DA) on the molecular conformation of chitosan and its ability to interact with xanthan gum in aqueous solutions. The conformational flexibility of CS was found to be highly dependent on its state of protonation. Upon complexation with XG, a substantial restriction in free rotation around the glycosidic bond was noticed in protonated CS dimers regardless of their DA, whereas deprotonated molecules preserved their free mobility. Calculated values for the free energy of binding between CS and XG revealed the dominant contribution of electrostatic forces on the formation of complexes and that the most stable complexes were formed when CS was at least half-protonated and the DA was ≤50%. The results obtained provide an insight into the main factors governing the interaction between CS and XG, such that they can be manipulated accordingly to produce complexes with the desired controlled-release effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Chitin)
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Open AccessArticle Sterols from the Green Alga Ulva australis
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 299; doi:10.3390/md15100299
Received: 12 August 2017 / Revised: 25 September 2017 / Accepted: 27 September 2017 / Published: 28 September 2017
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Abstract
Three new sterols, (24R)-5,28-stigmastadiene-3β,24-diol-7-one (1), (24S)-5,28-stigmastadiene-3β,24-diol-7-one (2), and 24R and 24S-vinylcholesta-3β,5α,6β,24-tetraol (3), together with three known sterols (46) were isolated from the green alga Ulva australis
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Three new sterols, (24R)-5,28-stigmastadiene-3β,24-diol-7-one (1), (24S)-5,28-stigmastadiene-3β,24-diol-7-one (2), and 24R and 24S-vinylcholesta-3β,5α,6β,24-tetraol (3), together with three known sterols (46) were isolated from the green alga Ulva australis. The structures of the new compounds (13) were elucidated through 1D and 2D nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy as well as mass spectrometry. Compounds 46 were identified as isofucoterol (4), 24R,28S and 24S,28R-epoxy-24-ethylcholesterol (5), and (24S)-stigmastadiene-3β,24-diol (6) on the basis of spectroscopic data analyses and comparison with those reported in the literature. Compounds 46 were isolated from U. australis for the first time. These compounds, together with the previously isolated secondary metabolites of this alga, were investigated for their inhibitory effects on human recombinant aldose reductase in vitro. Of the compounds, 24R,28S and 24S,28R-epoxy-24-ethylcholesterol (5), 1-O-palmitoyl-3-O-(6′-sulfo-α-d-quinovopyranosyl) glycerol, (2S)-1-O-palmitoyl-3-O-[α-d-galactopyranosyl(1→2)β-d-galactopyranosyl] glycerol, 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, 4-hydroxyphenylacetic acid, and 8-hydroxy-(6E)-octenoic acid weakly inhibited the enzyme, while the three new sterols, 13, were almost inactive. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Anti-Inflammatory Lobane and Prenyleudesmane Diterpenoids from the Soft Coral Lobophytum varium
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 300; doi:10.3390/md15100300
Received: 29 August 2017 / Revised: 22 September 2017 / Accepted: 27 September 2017 / Published: 29 September 2017
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Abstract
New lobane-based diterpenoids lobovarols A–D (14) and a prenyleudesmane-type diterpenoid lobovarol E (5) along with seven known related diterpenoids (612) were isolated from the ethyl acetate extract of a Taiwanese soft coral Lobophytum
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New lobane-based diterpenoids lobovarols A–D (14) and a prenyleudesmane-type diterpenoid lobovarol E (5) along with seven known related diterpenoids (612) were isolated from the ethyl acetate extract of a Taiwanese soft coral Lobophytum varium. Their structures were identified on the basis of multiple spectroscopic analyses and spectral comparison. The absolute configuration at C-16 of the known compound 11 is reported herein for the first time. The anti-inflammatory activities of compounds 112 were assessed by measuring their inhibitory effect on N-formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenyl-alanine/cytochalasin B (fMLP/CB)-induced superoxide anion generation and elastase release in human neutrophils. Metabolites 2, 5, and 11 were found to show moderate inhibitory activity on the generation of superoxide anion, while compounds 5, 8, 11, and 12 could effectively suppress elastase release in fMLP/CB-stimulated human neutrophil cells at 10 μM. All of the isolated diterpenoids did not exhibit cytotoxic activity (IC50 > 50 μM) towards a limited panel of cancer cell lines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products from Coral Reef Organisms)
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Open AccessArticle Fucoidan and Fucosylated Chondroitin Sulfate Stimulate Hematopoiesis in Cyclophosphamide-Induced Mice
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 301; doi:10.3390/md15100301
Received: 9 August 2017 / Revised: 20 September 2017 / Accepted: 27 September 2017 / Published: 30 September 2017
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Abstract
Application of cytostatics in cancer patients’ chemotherapy results in a number of side effects, including the inhibition of various parts of hematopoiesis. Two sulfated polysaccharides, fucoidan from the seaweed Chordaria flagelliformis (PS-Fuc) and fucosylated chondroitin sulfate from the sea cucumber Massinium
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Application of cytostatics in cancer patients’ chemotherapy results in a number of side effects, including the inhibition of various parts of hematopoiesis. Two sulfated polysaccharides, fucoidan from the seaweed Chordaria flagelliformis (PS-Fuc) and fucosylated chondroitin sulfate from the sea cucumber Massinium magnum (PS-FCS), were studied as stimulators of hematopoiesis after cyclophosphamide immunosuppression in mice. Recombinant granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (r G-CSF) was applied as a reference. Both tested polysaccharides PS-Fuc and PS-FCS have a similar activity to r G-CSF, causing pronounced neutropoiesis stimulation in animals with myelosuppression induced by cyclophosphamide (CPh). Moreover, these compounds are also capable to enhance thrombopoiesis and erythropoiesis. It should be noted that PS-FCS demonstrated a greater activity than r G-CSF. The results indicate the perspective of further studies of PS-Fuc and PS-FCS, since these compounds can be considered as potentially promising stimulators of hematopoiesis. Such drugs are in demand for the accompanying treatment of cancer patients who suffer from hematological toxicity during chemo and/or radiation therapy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Metabolite Profiling of Triterpene Glycosides of the Far Eastern Sea Cucumber Eupentacta fraudatrix and Their Distribution in Various Body Components Using LC-ESI QTOF-MS
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 302; doi:10.3390/md15100302
Received: 18 August 2017 / Revised: 21 September 2017 / Accepted: 30 September 2017 / Published: 2 October 2017
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Abstract
The Far Eastern sea cucumber Eupentacta fraudatrix is an inhabitant of shallow waters of the south part of the Sea of Japan. This animal is an interesting and rich source of triterpene glycosides with unique chemical structures and various biological activities. The objective
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The Far Eastern sea cucumber Eupentacta fraudatrix is an inhabitant of shallow waters of the south part of the Sea of Japan. This animal is an interesting and rich source of triterpene glycosides with unique chemical structures and various biological activities. The objective of this study was to investigate composition and distribution in various body components of triterpene glycosides of the sea cucumber E. fraudatrix. We applied LC-ESI MS (liquid chromatography–electrospray mass spectrometry) of whole body extract and extracts of various body components for metabolic profiling and structure elucidation of triterpene glycosides from the E. fraudatrix. Totally, 54 compounds, including 26 sulfated, 18 non-sulfated and 10 disulfated glycosides were detected and described. Triterpene glycosides from the body walls, gonads, aquapharyngeal bulbs, guts and respiratory trees were extracted separately and the distributions of the detected compounds in various body components were analyzed. Series of new glycosides with unusual structural features were described in E. fraudatrix, which allow clarifying the biosynthesis of these compounds. Comparison of the triterpene glycosides contents from the five different body components revealed that the profiles of triterpene glycosides were qualitatively similar, and only some quantitative variabilities for minor compounds were observed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Glycosides)
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Open AccessArticle Sequencing and Characterization of Novel PII Signaling Protein Gene in Microalga Haematococcus pluvialis
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 304; doi:10.3390/md15100304
Received: 31 August 2017 / Revised: 25 September 2017 / Accepted: 30 September 2017 / Published: 11 October 2017
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Abstract
The PII signaling protein is a key protein for controlling nitrogen assimilatory reactions in most organisms, but little information is reported on PII proteins of green microalga Haematococcus pluvialis. Since H. pluvialis cells can produce a large amount of astaxanthin upon nitrogen
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The PII signaling protein is a key protein for controlling nitrogen assimilatory reactions in most organisms, but little information is reported on PII proteins of green microalga Haematococcus pluvialis. Since H. pluvialis cells can produce a large amount of astaxanthin upon nitrogen starvation, its PII protein may represent an important factor on elevated production of Haematococcus astaxanthin. This study identified and isolated the coding gene (HpGLB1) from this microalga. The full-length of HpGLB1 was 1222 bp, including 621 bp coding sequence (CDS), 103 bp 5′ untranslated region (5′ UTR), and 498 bp 3′ untranslated region (3′ UTR). The CDS could encode a protein with 206 amino acids (HpPII). Its calculated molecular weight (Mw) was 22.4 kDa and the theoretical isoelectric point was 9.53. When H. pluvialis cells were exposed to nitrogen starvation, the HpGLB1 expression was increased 2.46 times in 48 h, concomitant with the raise of astaxanthin content. This study also used phylogenetic analysis to prove that HpPII was homogeneous to the PII proteins of other green microalgae. The results formed a fundamental basis for the future study on HpPII, for its potential physiological function in Haematococcus astaxanthin biosysthesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Marine Carotenoids)
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Open AccessArticle Dual Biological Functions of a Cytoprotective Effect and Apoptosis Induction by Bioavailable Marine Carotenoid Fucoxanthinol through Modulation of the Nrf2 Activation in RAW264.7 Macrophage Cells
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 305; doi:10.3390/md15100305
Received: 6 September 2017 / Revised: 18 September 2017 / Accepted: 1 October 2017 / Published: 6 October 2017
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Abstract
In this study, the function of fucoxanthinol (FxOH) as a bioavailable marine carotenoid together with the pre-metabolite, fucoxanthin (Fx), was examined through the Nrf2-ARE pathway. The antioxidant activity in the low concentration range of the compounds (1–4 μM) with a peroxyl radical scavenging
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In this study, the function of fucoxanthinol (FxOH) as a bioavailable marine carotenoid together with the pre-metabolite, fucoxanthin (Fx), was examined through the Nrf2-ARE pathway. The antioxidant activity in the low concentration range of the compounds (1–4 μM) with a peroxyl radical scavenging capacity was proved by the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) method and an ESR study. Similar concentrations of the compound also activated the Nrf2-ARE signaling with the Nrf2 translocation into the nuclear, then the expression of the antioxidant protein HO-1 increased. On the other hand, the high concentrations of both compounds (>10 μM) induced apoptosis with caspase 3/7 activation during suppression of the anti-apoptotic proteins, such as Bcl-XL and phosphorous Akt (pAkt). The Nrf2 expression was then activated in the nuclear, indicating that the Nrf2 plays a significant role in the cytoprotective effect against the toxicity of the compounds. These results indicated that the compounds have the dual functions of a cytoprotective effect and the apoptosis induction dependent on the treated concentrations through the Nrf2 activation. In addition, the results of all the assays involved in our previous studies suggested that the metabolite FxOH having a higher activity than the Fx, will be a bioavailable compound in biological systems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Production of Fish Protein Hydrolysates from Scyliorhinus canicula Discards with Antihypertensive and Antioxidant Activities by Enzymatic Hydrolysis and Mathematical Optimization Using Response Surface Methodology
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 306; doi:10.3390/md15100306
Received: 25 August 2017 / Revised: 19 September 2017 / Accepted: 4 October 2017 / Published: 10 October 2017
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Abstract
Fish discards are of major concern in new EU policies. Alternatives for the management of the new biomass that has to be landed is compulsory. The production of bioactive compounds from fish protein hydrolysates (FPH) has been explored in recent years. However, the
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Fish discards are of major concern in new EU policies. Alternatives for the management of the new biomass that has to be landed is compulsory. The production of bioactive compounds from fish protein hydrolysates (FPH) has been explored in recent years. However, the viability of Scyliorhinus canicula discards, which might account for up to 90–100% of captures in mixed trawler, gillnet, and longline industrial fisheries, to produce FPH from the muscle with bioactivities has still not been studied in terms of the optimization of the experimental conditions to enhance its production. The effect of pH and temperature on the hydrolysis of the S. canicula muscle was mediated by three commercial proteases using response surface methodology. Temperatures of 64.6 °C and 60.8 °C and pHs of 9.40 and 8.90 were established as the best hydrolysis conditions for Alcalase and Esperase, respectively. Optimization of the best conditions for the maximization of antihypertensive and antioxidant activities was performed. Higher Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) activity was found with Esperase. The pH optimum and temperature optimum for antioxidants were 55 °C/pH8.0 for ABTS/DPPH-Esperase, 63.1 °C/pH9.0 for DPPH-Alcalase, and 55 °C/pH9.0 for ABTS-Alcalase. No hydrolysis was detected when using Protamex. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioconversion of Marine Resources)
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Open AccessArticle The Abundance of Toxic Genotypes Is a Key Contributor to Anatoxin Variability in Phormidium-Dominated Benthic Mats
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 307; doi:10.3390/md15100307
Received: 29 August 2017 / Revised: 10 September 2017 / Accepted: 4 October 2017 / Published: 11 October 2017
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Abstract
The prevalence of benthic proliferations of the anatoxin-producing cyanobacterium Phormidium are increasing in cobble-bed rivers worldwide. Studies to date have shown high spatial and temporal variability in anatoxin concentrations among mats. In this study we determined anatoxin quotas (toxins per cell) in field
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The prevalence of benthic proliferations of the anatoxin-producing cyanobacterium Phormidium are increasing in cobble-bed rivers worldwide. Studies to date have shown high spatial and temporal variability in anatoxin concentrations among mats. In this study we determined anatoxin quotas (toxins per cell) in field samples and compared these results to the conventionally-used concentrations (assessed per dry weight of mat). Three mats were selected at sites in two rivers and were sampled every 2–3 h for 24–26 h. The samples were lyophilized and ground to a fine homogenous powder. Two aliquots of known weights were analyzed for anatoxin congeners using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, or digital droplet PCR with Phormidium-specific anaC primers to measure absolute quantities of gene copies. Anatoxin concentrations in the mats varied 59- and 303-fold in the two rivers over the study periods. A similar pattern was observed among gene copies (53- and 2828-fold). When converted to anatoxin quotas there was markedly less variability (42- and 16-fold), but significantly higher anatoxin quotas were observed in mats from the second river (p < 0.001, Student’s t-test). There were no obvious temporal patterns with high and low anatoxin concentrations or quotas measured at each sampling time and across the study period. These results demonstrate that variability in anatoxin concentrations among mats is primarily due to the abundance of toxic genotypes. No consistent modulation in anatoxin production was observed during the study, although significant differences in anatoxin quotas among rivers suggest that site-specific physiochemical or biological factors may influence anatoxin production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Algal Toxins II, 2017)
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Open AccessArticle Diversity and Antimicrobial Potential of Predatory Bacteria from the Peruvian Coastline
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 308; doi:10.3390/md15100308
Received: 6 September 2017 / Revised: 25 September 2017 / Accepted: 9 October 2017 / Published: 12 October 2017
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Abstract
The microbiome of three different sites at the Peruvian Pacific coast was analyzed, revealing a lower bacterial biodiversity at Isla Foca than at Paracas and Manglares, with 89 bacterial genera identified, as compared to 195 and 173 genera, respectively. Only 47 of the
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The microbiome of three different sites at the Peruvian Pacific coast was analyzed, revealing a lower bacterial biodiversity at Isla Foca than at Paracas and Manglares, with 89 bacterial genera identified, as compared to 195 and 173 genera, respectively. Only 47 of the bacterial genera identified were common to all three sites. In order to obtain promising strains for the putative production of novel antimicrobials, predatory bacteria were isolated from these sampling sites, using two different bait organisms. Even though the proportion of predatory bacteria was only around 0.5% in the here investigated environmental microbiomes, by this approach in total 138 bacterial strains were isolated as axenic culture. 25% of strains showed antibacterial activity, thereby nine revealed activity against clinically relevant methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and three against enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) strains. Phylogeny and physiological characteristics of the active strains were investigated. First insights into the chemical basis of the antibacterial activity indicated the biosynthetic production of the known compounds ariakemicin, kocurin, naphthyridinomycin, pumilacidins, resistomycin, and surfactin. However, most compounds remained elusive until now. Hence, the obtained results implicate that the microbiome present at the various habitats at the Peruvian coastline is a promising source for heterotrophic bacterial strains showing high potential for the biotechnological production of antibiotics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Antimicrobial Agents)
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Open AccessArticle Quantification of Representative Ciguatoxins in the Pacific Using Quantitative Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 309; doi:10.3390/md15100309
Received: 8 September 2017 / Revised: 29 September 2017 / Accepted: 9 October 2017 / Published: 12 October 2017
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Abstract
The absolute quantification of five toxins involved in ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) in the Pacific was carried out by quantitative 1H-NMR. The targeted toxins were ciguatoxin-1B (CTX1B), 52-epi-54-deoxyciguatoxin-1B (epideoxyCTX1B), ciguatoxin-3C (CTX3C), 51-hydroxyciguatoxin-3C (51OHCTX3C), and ciguatoxin-4A (CTX4A). We first calibrated the residual protons
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The absolute quantification of five toxins involved in ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) in the Pacific was carried out by quantitative 1H-NMR. The targeted toxins were ciguatoxin-1B (CTX1B), 52-epi-54-deoxyciguatoxin-1B (epideoxyCTX1B), ciguatoxin-3C (CTX3C), 51-hydroxyciguatoxin-3C (51OHCTX3C), and ciguatoxin-4A (CTX4A). We first calibrated the residual protons of pyridine-d5 using certified reference material, 1,4-BTMSB-d4, prepared the toxin solutions with the calibrated pyridin-d5, measured the 1H-NMR spectra, and quantified the toxin using the calibrated residual protons as the internal standard. The absolute quantification was carried out by comparing the signal intensities between the selected protons of the target toxin and the residual protons of the calibrated pyridine-d5. The proton signals residing on the ciguatoxins (CTXs) to be used for quantification were carefully selected for those that were well separated from adjacent signals including impurities and that exhibited an effective intensity. To quantify CTX1B and its congeners, the olefin protons in the side chain were judged appropriate for use. The quantification was achievable with nano-molar solutions. The probable errors for uncertainty, calculated on respective toxins, ranged between 3% and 16%. The contamination of the precious toxins with nonvolatile internal standards was thus avoided. After the evaporation of pyridine-d5, the calibrated CTXs were ready for use as the reference standard in the quantitative analysis of ciguatoxins by LC/MS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Target Identification of Marine Products)
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Open AccessArticle Angiotensin I-Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitory Activity, Antioxidant Properties, Phenolic Content and Amino Acid Profiles of Fucus spiralis L. Protein Hydrolysate Fractions
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 311; doi:10.3390/md15100311
Received: 2 September 2017 / Revised: 29 September 2017 / Accepted: 9 October 2017 / Published: 13 October 2017
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Abstract
Food protein-derived hydrolysates with multi-bioactivities such as antihypertensive and antioxidant properties have recently received special attention since both activities can play significant roles in preventing cardiovascular diseases. This study reports, for the first time, the angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE)-inhibition and antioxidant properties of
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Food protein-derived hydrolysates with multi-bioactivities such as antihypertensive and antioxidant properties have recently received special attention since both activities can play significant roles in preventing cardiovascular diseases. This study reports, for the first time, the angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE)-inhibition and antioxidant properties of ultrafiltrate fractions (UF) with different molecular weight ranges (<1, 1–3 and ≥3 kDa) obtained from Fucus spiralis protein hydrolysate (FSPH) digested with cellulase–bromelain. The amino acids profile, recovery yield, protein, peptide and total phenolic contents of these FSPH-UF, and the in vitro digestibility of F. spiralis crude protein were also investigated. FSPH-UF ≥3 kDa presented remarkably higher ACE-inhibition, yield, peptide and polyphenolic (phlorotannins) contents. Antioxidant analysis showed that FSPH-UF <1 kDa and ≥3 kDa exhibited significantly higher scavenging of 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl radical and ferrous ion-chelating (FIC) activity. FSPH-UF ≥3 kDa had also notably higher ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP). Strong correlations were observed between ACE-inhibition and antioxidant activities (FIC and FRAP). The results suggest that ACE-inhibition and antioxidant properties of FSPH-UF may be due to the bioactive peptides and polyphenols released during the enzymatic hydrolysis. In conclusion, this study shows the potential use of defined size FSPH-UF for the prevention/treatment of hypertension and/or oxidative stress-related diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development and Application of Herbal Medicine from Marine Origin)
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Open AccessArticle Discovering the Biological Target of 5-epi-Sinuleptolide Using a Combination of Proteomic Approaches
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 312; doi:10.3390/md15100312
Received: 28 July 2017 / Revised: 29 September 2017 / Accepted: 9 October 2017 / Published: 13 October 2017
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Abstract
Sinuleptolide and its congeners are diterpenes with a norcembranoid skeleton isolated from the soft coral genus Sinularia. These marine metabolites are endowed with relevant biological activities, mainly associated with cancer development. 5-epi-sinuleptolide has been selected as a candidate for target
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Sinuleptolide and its congeners are diterpenes with a norcembranoid skeleton isolated from the soft coral genus Sinularia. These marine metabolites are endowed with relevant biological activities, mainly associated with cancer development. 5-epi-sinuleptolide has been selected as a candidate for target discovery studies through the application of complementary proteomic approaches. Specifically, a combination of conventional chemical proteomics based on affinity chromatography, coupled with high-resolution mass spectrometry and bioinformatics, as well as drug affinity responsive target stability (DARTS), led to a clear identification of actins as main targets for 5-epi-sinuleptolide. Subsequent in-cell assays, performed with cytochalasin D as reference compound, gave information on the ability of 5-epi-sinuleptolide to disrupt the actin cytoskeleton by loss of actin fibers and formation of F-actin amorphous aggregates. These results suggest the potential application of 5-epi-sinuleptolide as a useful tool in the study of the molecular processes impaired in several disorders in which actin is thought to play an essential role. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Target Identification of Marine Products)
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Open AccessArticle Identification of (Z)-2,3-Diphenylacrylonitrile as Anti-Cancer Molecule in Persian Gulf Sea Cucumber Holothuria parva
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 314; doi:10.3390/md15100314
Received: 2 August 2017 / Revised: 21 September 2017 / Accepted: 21 September 2017 / Published: 16 October 2017
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Abstract
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), also named cancerous hepatoma, is the most common type of malignant neoplasia of the liver. In this research, we screened the Persian Gulf sea cucumber Holothuria parva (H. parva) methanolic sub-fractions for the possible existence of selective toxicity
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Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), also named cancerous hepatoma, is the most common type of malignant neoplasia of the liver. In this research, we screened the Persian Gulf sea cucumber Holothuria parva (H. parva) methanolic sub-fractions for the possible existence of selective toxicity on liver mitochondria isolated from an animal model of HCC. Next, we purified the most active fraction. Thus the structure of the active molecule was identified. HCC was induced by diethylnitrosamine (DEN) and 2-acetylaminofluorene (2-AAF) protocol. Rat liver mitochondria for evaluation of the selective cytotoxic effects of sub-fractions of H. parva were isolated and then mitochondrial parameters were determined. Our results showed that C1 sub-fraction of methanolic extract of H. parva considerably increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, collapse of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), swelling in mitochondria and cytochrome c release only on HCC liver mitochondria. Furthermore, the methanolic extract of H. parva was investigated furthermore and the active fraction was extracted. In this fraction, (Z)-2,3-diphenylacrylonitrile molecule, which is also known as α-cyanostilbene, was identified by mass analysis. This molecule increased ROS generation, collapse of MMP, swelling in mitochondria and finally cytochrome c release only on HCC liver mitochondria. The derivatives of (Z)-2,3-diphenylacrylonitrile in other natural products were also reported as an anti-cancer agent. These results suggest the eligibility of the (Z)-2,3-diphenylacrylonitrile as a complementary therapeutic agent for patients with HCC. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Algal Foams Applied in Fixed-Bed Process for Lead(II) Removal Using Recirculation or One-Pass Modes
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 315; doi:10.3390/md15100315
Received: 24 August 2017 / Revised: 10 October 2017 / Accepted: 13 October 2017 / Published: 17 October 2017
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Abstract
The incorporation of brown algae into biopolymer beads or foams for metal sorption has been previously reported. However, the direct use of these biomasses for preparing foams is a new approach. In this study, two kinds of porous foams were prepared by ionotropic
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The incorporation of brown algae into biopolymer beads or foams for metal sorption has been previously reported. However, the direct use of these biomasses for preparing foams is a new approach. In this study, two kinds of porous foams were prepared by ionotropic gelation using algal biomass (AB, Laminaria digitata) or alginate (as the reference) and applied for Pb(II) sorption. These foams (manufactured as macroporous discs) were packed in filtration holders (simulating fixed-bed column) and the system was operated in either a recirculation or a one-pass mode. Sorption isotherms, uptake kinetics and sorbent reuse were studied in the recirculation mode (analogous to batch system). In the one-pass mode (continuous fixed-bed system), the influence of parameters such as flow rate, feed metal concentration and bed height were investigated on both sorption and desorption. In addition, the effect of Cu(II) on Pb(II) recovery from binary solutions was also studied in terms of both sorption and desorption. Sorption isotherms are well fitted by the Langmuir equation while the pseudo-second order rate equation described well both sorption and desorption kinetic profiles. The study of material regeneration confirms that the reuse of the foams was feasible with a small mass loss, even after 9 cycles. In the one-pass mode, for alginate foams, a slower flow rate led to a smaller saturation volume, while the effect of flow rate was less marked for AB foams. Competitive study suggests that the foams have a preference for Pb(II) over Cu(II) but cannot selectively remove Pb(II) from the binary solution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Compounds Used in Biosorption)
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Open AccessArticle Marine-Derived 2-Aminoimidazolone Alkaloids. Leucettamine B-Related Polyandrocarpamines Inhibit Mammalian and Protozoan DYRK & CLK Kinases
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 316; doi:10.3390/md15100316
Received: 30 August 2017 / Revised: 28 September 2017 / Accepted: 12 October 2017 / Published: 17 October 2017
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Abstract
A large diversity of 2-aminoimidazolone alkaloids is produced by various marine invertebrates, especially by the marine Calcareous sponges Leucetta and Clathrina. The phylogeny of these sponges and the wide scope of 2-aminoimidazolone alkaloids they produce are reviewed in this article. The origin
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A large diversity of 2-aminoimidazolone alkaloids is produced by various marine invertebrates, especially by the marine Calcareous sponges Leucetta and Clathrina. The phylogeny of these sponges and the wide scope of 2-aminoimidazolone alkaloids they produce are reviewed in this article. The origin (invertebrate cells, associated microorganisms, or filtered plankton), physiological functions, and natural molecular targets of these alkaloids are largely unknown. Following the identification of leucettamine B as an inhibitor of selected protein kinases, we synthesized a family of analogues, collectively named leucettines, as potent inhibitors of DYRKs (dual-specificity, tyrosine phosphorylation regulated kinases) and CLKs (cdc2-like kinases) and potential pharmacological leads for the treatment of several diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and Down syndrome. We assembled a small library of marine sponge- and ascidian-derived 2-aminoimidazolone alkaloids, along with several synthetic analogues, and tested them on a panel of mammalian and protozoan kinases. Polyandrocarpamines A and B were found to be potent and selective inhibitors of DYRKs and CLKs. They inhibited cyclin D1 phosphorylation on a DYRK1A phosphosite in cultured cells. 2-Aminoimidazolones thus represent a promising chemical scaffold for the design of potential therapeutic drug candidates acting as specific inhibitors of disease-relevant kinases, and possibly other disease-relevant targets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Progress on Marine Natural Products as Lead Compounds)
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Open AccessArticle Identification and Characterization of an Isoform Antifreeze Protein from the Antarctic Marine Diatom, Chaetoceros neogracile and Suggestion of the Core Region
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 318; doi:10.3390/md15100318
Received: 13 September 2017 / Revised: 13 October 2017 / Accepted: 16 October 2017 / Published: 18 October 2017
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Abstract
Antifreeze proteins (AFPs) protecting the cells against freezing are produced in response to extremely low temperatures in diverse psychrophilic organisms, and they are encoded by multiple gene families. The AFP of Antarctic marine diatom Chaetoceros neogracile is reported in our previous research, but
[...] Read more.
Antifreeze proteins (AFPs) protecting the cells against freezing are produced in response to extremely low temperatures in diverse psychrophilic organisms, and they are encoded by multiple gene families. The AFP of Antarctic marine diatom Chaetoceros neogracile is reported in our previous research, but like other microalgae, was considered to probably have additional genes coding AFPs. In this paper, we reported the cloning and characterization of additional AFP gene from C. neogracile (Cn-isoAFP). Cn-isoAFP protein is 74.6% identical to the previously reported Cn-AFP. The promoter sequence of Cn-isoAFP contains environmental stress responsive elements for cold, thermal, and high light conditions. Cn-isoAFP transcription levels increased dramatically when cells were exposed to freezing (−20 °C), thermal (10 °C), or high light (600 μmol photon m−2 s−1) stresses. The thermal hysteresis (TH) activity of recombinant Cn-isoAFP was 0.8 °C at a protein concentration of 5 mg/mL. Results from homology modeling and TH activity analysis of site-directed mutant proteins elucidated AFP mechanism to be a result of flatness of B-face maintained via hydrophobic interactions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Chitosan Ascorbate Nanoparticles for the Vaginal Delivery of Antibiotic Drugs in Atrophic Vaginitis
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 319; doi:10.3390/md15100319
Received: 14 September 2017 / Revised: 10 October 2017 / Accepted: 13 October 2017 / Published: 19 October 2017
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Abstract
The aim of the present work was the development of chitosan ascorbate nanoparticles (CSA NPs) loaded into a fast-dissolving matrix for the delivery of antibiotic drugs in the treatment of atrophic vaginitis. CSA NPs loaded with amoxicillin trihydrate (AX) were obtained by ionotropic
[...] Read more.
The aim of the present work was the development of chitosan ascorbate nanoparticles (CSA NPs) loaded into a fast-dissolving matrix for the delivery of antibiotic drugs in the treatment of atrophic vaginitis. CSA NPs loaded with amoxicillin trihydrate (AX) were obtained by ionotropic gelation in the presence of pentasodium tripolyphosphate (TPP). Different CSA:TPP and CSA:AX weight ratios were considered and their influence on the particle size, polydispersion index and production yield were investigated. CSA NPs were characterized for mucoadhesive, wound healing and antimicrobial properties. Subsequently, CSA NPs were loaded in polymeric matrices, whose composition was optimized using a DoE (Design of Experiments) approach (simplex centroid design). Matrices were obtained by freeze-drying aqueous solutions of three hydrophilic excipients, polyvinylpirrolidone, mannitol and glycin. They should possess a mechanical resistance suitable for the administration into the vaginal cavity and should readily dissolve in the vaginal fluid. In addition to antioxidant properties, due to the presence of ascorbic acid, CSA NPs showed in vitro mucoadhesive, wound healing and antimicrobial properties. In particular, nanoparticles were characterized by an improved antimicrobial activity with respect to a chitosan solution, prepared at the same concentration. The optimized matrix was characterized by mechanical resistance and by the fast release in simulated vaginal fluid of nanoparticles characterized by unchanged size. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Biomaterials II, 2017)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle A Synthetic Analogue of Neopeltolide, 8,9-Dehydroneopeltolide, Is a Potent Anti-Austerity Agent against Starved Tumor Cells
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 320; doi:10.3390/md15100320 (registering DOI)
Received: 26 September 2017 / Revised: 12 October 2017 / Accepted: 16 October 2017 / Published: 20 October 2017
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Abstract
Neopeltolide, an antiproliferative marine macrolide, is known to specifically inhibit complex III of the mitochondrial electron transport chain (mETC). However, details of the biological mode-of-action(s) remain largely unknown. This work demonstrates potent cytotoxic activity of synthetic neopeltolide analogue, 8,9-dehydroneopeltolide (8,9-DNP), against starved human
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Neopeltolide, an antiproliferative marine macrolide, is known to specifically inhibit complex III of the mitochondrial electron transport chain (mETC). However, details of the biological mode-of-action(s) remain largely unknown. This work demonstrates potent cytotoxic activity of synthetic neopeltolide analogue, 8,9-dehydroneopeltolide (8,9-DNP), against starved human pancreatic adenocarcinoma PANC-1 cells and human non-small cell lung adenocarcinoma A549 cells. 8,9-DNP induced rapid dissipation of the mitochondrial membrane potential and depletion of intracellular ATP level in nutrient-deprived medium. Meanwhile, in spite of mTOR inhibition under starvation conditions, impairment of cytoprotective autophagy was observed as the lipidation of LC3-I to form LC3-II and the degradation of p62 were suppressed. Consequently, cells were severely deprived of energy sources and underwent necrotic cell death. The autophagic flux inhibited by 8,9-DNP could be restored by glucose, and this eventually rescued cells from necrotic death. Thus, 8,9-DNP is a potent anti-austerity agent that impairs mitochondrial ATP synthesis and cytoprotective autophagy in starved tumor cells. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Different Levels of Skin Whitening Activity among 3,6-Anhydro-l-galactose, Agarooligosaccharides, and Neoagarooligosaccharides
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 321; doi:10.3390/md15100321 (registering DOI)
Received: 22 August 2017 / Revised: 15 October 2017 / Accepted: 16 October 2017 / Published: 20 October 2017
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Abstract
3,6-Anhydro-l-galactose (AHG), a major monomeric constituent of red macroalgae (Rhodophyta), was recently reported to possess skin whitening activity. Moreover, AHG-containing oligosaccharides, such as agarooligosaccharides (AOSs) and neoagarooligosaccharides (NAOSs), have various physiological activities, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and skin moisturizing effects.
[...] Read more.
3,6-Anhydro-l-galactose (AHG), a major monomeric constituent of red macroalgae (Rhodophyta), was recently reported to possess skin whitening activity. Moreover, AHG-containing oligosaccharides, such as agarooligosaccharides (AOSs) and neoagarooligosaccharides (NAOSs), have various physiological activities, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and skin moisturizing effects. In this study, AHG and NAOSs were produced from agarose by enzymatic reactions catalyzed by an endo-type β-agarase, an exo-type β-agarase, and a neoagarobiose hydrolase. In a cell proliferation assay, AHG, AOSs, and NAOSs at 12.5, 25, and 50 μg/mL concentrations did not exhibit cytotoxicity toward murine B16 melanoma cells or human epidermal melanocytes. In an in vitro skin whitening activity assay of AHG, AOSs, and NAOSs at 50 μg/mL, AHG showed the highest skin whitening activity in both murine B16 melanoma cells and human epidermal melanocytes; this activity was mediated by the inhibition of melanogenesis. Neoagarotetraose and neoagarohexaose also exhibited in vitro skin whitening activity, whereas neoagarobiose and AOSs with degrees of polymerization of 3 (agarotriose), 5 (agaropentaose), and 7 (agaroheptaose) did not. Therefore, AHG is responsible for the skin whitening activity of agar-derived sugars, and the structural differences among the AHG-containing oligosaccharides may be responsible for their different skin whitening activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Products for Health and Beauty)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview µ-Conotoxins Modulating Sodium Currents in Pain Perception and Transmission: A Therapeutic Potential
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 295; doi:10.3390/md15100295
Received: 28 July 2017 / Revised: 12 September 2017 / Accepted: 20 September 2017 / Published: 22 September 2017
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Abstract
The Conus genus includes around 500 species of marine mollusks with a peculiar production of venomous peptides known as conotoxins (CTX). Each species is able to produce up to 200 different biological active peptides. Common structure of CTX is the low number of
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The Conus genus includes around 500 species of marine mollusks with a peculiar production of venomous peptides known as conotoxins (CTX). Each species is able to produce up to 200 different biological active peptides. Common structure of CTX is the low number of amino acids stabilized by disulfide bridges and post-translational modifications that give rise to different isoforms. µ and µO-CTX are two isoforms that specifically target voltage-gated sodium channels. These, by inducing the entrance of sodium ions in the cell, modulate the neuronal excitability by depolarizing plasma membrane and propagating the action potential. Hyperexcitability and mutations of sodium channels are responsible for perception and transmission of inflammatory and neuropathic pain states. In this review, we describe the current knowledge of µ-CTX interacting with the different sodium channels subtypes, the mechanism of action and their potential therapeutic use as analgesic compounds in the clinical management of pain conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Drugs and Ion Currents)
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Open AccessReview Hypopigmenting Effects of Brown Algae-Derived Phytochemicals: A Review on Molecular Mechanisms
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 297; doi:10.3390/md15100297
Received: 29 August 2017 / Revised: 11 September 2017 / Accepted: 20 September 2017 / Published: 24 September 2017
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Abstract
There is a rapid increase in the demand for natural hypopigmenting agents from marine sources for cosmeceutical and pharmaceutical applications. Currently, marine macroalgae are considered as a safe and effective source of diverse bioactive compounds. Many research groups are exploring marine macroalgae to
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There is a rapid increase in the demand for natural hypopigmenting agents from marine sources for cosmeceutical and pharmaceutical applications. Currently, marine macroalgae are considered as a safe and effective source of diverse bioactive compounds. Many research groups are exploring marine macroalgae to discover and characterize novel compounds for cosmeceutical, nutraceutical, and pharmaceutical applications. Many types of bioactive secondary metabolites from marine algae, including phlorotannins, sulfated polysaccharides, carotenoids, and meroterpenoids, have already been documented for their potential applications in the pharmaceutical industry. Among these metabolites, phlorotannins from brown algae have been widely screened for their pharmaceutical and hypopigmenting effects. Unfortunately, the majority of these articles did not have detailed investigations on molecular targets, which is critical to fulfilling the criteria for their cosmeceutical and pharmaceutical use. Very recently, a few meroterpenoids have been discovered from Sargassum sp., with the examination of their anti-melanogenic properties and mechanisms. Despite the scarcity of in vivo and clinical investigations of molecular mechanistic events of marine algae-derived hypopigmenting agents, identifying the therapeutic targets and their validation in humans has been a major challenge for future studies. In this review, we focused on available data representing molecular mechanisms underlying hypopigmenting properties of potential marine brown alga-derived compounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Products for Health and Beauty)
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Open AccessReview Guanidinium Toxins and Their Interactions with Voltage-Gated Sodium Ion Channels
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 303; doi:10.3390/md15100303
Received: 29 June 2017 / Revised: 14 September 2017 / Accepted: 27 September 2017 / Published: 13 October 2017
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Abstract
Guanidinium toxins, such as saxitoxin (STX), tetrodotoxin (TTX) and their analogs, are naturally occurring alkaloids with divergent evolutionary origins and biogeographical distribution, but which share the common chemical feature of guanidinium moieties. These guanidinium groups confer high biological activity with high affinity and
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Guanidinium toxins, such as saxitoxin (STX), tetrodotoxin (TTX) and their analogs, are naturally occurring alkaloids with divergent evolutionary origins and biogeographical distribution, but which share the common chemical feature of guanidinium moieties. These guanidinium groups confer high biological activity with high affinity and ion flux blockage capacity for voltage-gated sodium channels (NaV). Members of the STX group, known collectively as paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs), are produced among three genera of marine dinoflagellates and about a dozen genera of primarily freshwater or brackish water cyanobacteria. In contrast, toxins of the TTX group occur mainly in macrozoa, particularly among puffer fish, several species of marine invertebrates and a few terrestrial amphibians. In the case of TTX and analogs, most evidence suggests that symbiotic bacteria are the origin of the toxins, although endogenous biosynthesis independent from bacteria has not been excluded. The evolutionary origin of the biosynthetic genes for STX and analogs in dinoflagellates and cyanobacteria remains elusive. These highly potent molecules have been the subject of intensive research since the latter half of the past century; first to study the mode of action of their toxigenicity, and later as tools to characterize the role and structure of NaV channels, and finally as therapeutics. Their pharmacological activities have provided encouragement for their use as therapeutants for ion channel-related pathologies, such as pain control. The functional role in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems for both groups of toxins is unproven, although plausible mechanisms of ion channel regulation and chemical defense are often invoked. Molecular approaches and the development of improved detection methods will yield deeper understanding of their physiological and ecological roles. This knowledge will facilitate their further biotechnological exploitation and point the way towards development of pharmaceuticals and therapeutic applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Drugs and Ion Currents)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Marine Sponge Natural Products with Anticancer Potential: An Updated Review
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 310; doi:10.3390/md15100310
Received: 25 August 2017 / Revised: 28 September 2017 / Accepted: 9 October 2017 / Published: 13 October 2017
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Abstract
Despite the huge investment into research and the significant effort and advances made in the search for new anticancer drugs in recent decades, cancer cure and treatment continue to be a formidable challenge. Many sources, including plants, animals, and minerals, have been explored
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Despite the huge investment into research and the significant effort and advances made in the search for new anticancer drugs in recent decades, cancer cure and treatment continue to be a formidable challenge. Many sources, including plants, animals, and minerals, have been explored in the oncological field because of the possibility of identifying novel molecular therapeutics. Marine sponges are a prolific source of secondary metabolites, a number of which showed intriguing tumor chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic properties. Recently, Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs derived from marine sponges have been shown to reduce metastatic breast cancer, malignant lymphoma, and Hodgkin’s disease. The chemopreventive and potential anticancer activity of marine sponge-derived compounds could be explained by multiple cellular and molecular mechanisms, including DNA protection, cell-cycle modulation, apoptosis, and anti-inflammatory activities as well as their ability to chemosensitize cancer cells to traditional antiblastic chemotherapy. The present article aims to depict the multiple mechanisms involved in the chemopreventive and therapeutic effects of marine sponges and critically explore the limitations and challenges associated with the development of marine sponge-based anticancer strategy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Drugs as Antitumour Agents 2017)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Conotoxins as Tools to Understand the Physiological Function of Voltage-Gated Calcium (CaV) Channels
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 313; doi:10.3390/md15100313
Received: 8 August 2017 / Revised: 6 September 2017 / Accepted: 4 October 2017 / Published: 13 October 2017
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Abstract
Voltage-gated calcium (CaV) channels are widely expressed and are essential for the completion of multiple physiological processes. Close regulation of their activity by specific inhibitors and agonists become fundamental to understand their role in cellular homeostasis as well as in human
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Voltage-gated calcium (CaV) channels are widely expressed and are essential for the completion of multiple physiological processes. Close regulation of their activity by specific inhibitors and agonists become fundamental to understand their role in cellular homeostasis as well as in human tissues and organs. CaV channels are divided into two groups depending on the membrane potential required to activate them: High-voltage activated (HVA, CaV1.1–1.4; CaV2.1–2.3) and Low-voltage activated (LVA, CaV3.1–3.3). HVA channels are highly expressed in brain (neurons), heart, and adrenal medulla (chromaffin cells), among others, and are also classified into subtypes which can be distinguished using pharmacological approaches. Cone snails are marine gastropods that capture their prey by injecting venom, “conopeptides”, which cause paralysis in a few seconds. A subset of conopeptides called conotoxins are relatively small polypeptides, rich in disulfide bonds, that target ion channels, transporters and receptors localized at the neuromuscular system of the animal target. In this review, we describe the structure and properties of conotoxins that selectively block HVA calcium channels. We compare their potency on several HVA channel subtypes, emphasizing neuronal calcium channels. Lastly, we analyze recent advances in the therapeutic use of conotoxins for medical treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Drugs and Ion Currents)
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Open AccessReview Sea Cucumber Glycosides: Chemical Structures, Producing Species and Important Biological Properties
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 317; doi:10.3390/md15100317
Received: 27 June 2017 / Revised: 7 October 2017 / Accepted: 11 October 2017 / Published: 17 October 2017
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Abstract
Sea cucumbers belonging to echinoderm are traditionally used as tonic food in China and other Asian countries. They produce abundant biologically active triterpene glycosides. More than 300 triterpene glycosides have been isolated and characterized from various species of sea cucumbers, which are classified
[...] Read more.
Sea cucumbers belonging to echinoderm are traditionally used as tonic food in China and other Asian countries. They produce abundant biologically active triterpene glycosides. More than 300 triterpene glycosides have been isolated and characterized from various species of sea cucumbers, which are classified as holostane and nonholostane depending on the presence or absence of a specific structural unit γ(18,20)-lactone in the aglycone. Triterpene glycosides contain a carbohydrate chain up to six monosaccharide units mainly consisting of d-xylose, 3-O-methy-d-xylose, d-glucose, 3-O-methyl-d-glucose, and d-quinovose. Cytotoxicity is the common biological property of triterpene glycosides isolated from sea cucumbers. Besides cytotoxicity, triterpene glycosides also exhibit antifungal, antiviral and hemolytic activities. This review updates and summarizes our understanding on diverse chemical structures of triterpene glycosides from various species of sea cucumbers and their important biological activities. Mechanisms of action and structural–activity relationships (SARs) of sea cucumber glycosides are also discussed briefly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Glycosides)
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Open AccessReview Pleiotropic Role of Puupehenones in Biomedical Research
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 325; doi:10.3390/md15100325 (registering DOI)
Received: 1 September 2017 / Revised: 27 September 2017 / Accepted: 16 October 2017 / Published: 21 October 2017
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Abstract
Marine sponges represent a vast source of metabolites with very interesting potential biomedical applications. Puupehenones are sesquiterpene quinones isolated from sponges of the orders Verongida and Dictyoceratida. This family of chemical compounds is composed of a high number of metabolites, including puupehenone, the
[...] Read more.
Marine sponges represent a vast source of metabolites with very interesting potential biomedical applications. Puupehenones are sesquiterpene quinones isolated from sponges of the orders Verongida and Dictyoceratida. This family of chemical compounds is composed of a high number of metabolites, including puupehenone, the most characteristic compound of the family. Chemical synthesis of puupehenone has been reached by different routes, and the special chemical reactivity of this molecule has allowed the synthesis of many puupehenone-derived compounds. The biological activities of puupehenones are very diverse, including antiangiogenic, antitumoral, antioxidant, antimicrobial, immunomodulatory and antiatherosclerotic effects. Despite the very important roles described for puupehenones concerning different pathologies, the exact mechanism of action of these compounds and the putative therapeutic effects in vivo remain to be elucidated. This review offers an updated and global view about the biology of puupehenones and their therapeutic possibilities in human diseases such as cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Marine Compounds and Cancer) Printed Edition available
Open AccessReview Mycosporine-Like Amino Acids: Potential Health and Beauty Ingredients
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 326; doi:10.3390/md15100326 (registering DOI)
Received: 9 August 2017 / Revised: 14 October 2017 / Accepted: 18 October 2017 / Published: 21 October 2017
PDF Full-text (532 KB)
Abstract
Human skin is constantly exposed to damaging ultraviolet radiation (UVR), which induces a number of acute and chronic disorders. To reduce the risk of UV-induced skin injury, people apply an additional external protection in the form of cosmetic products containing sunscreens. Nowadays, because
[...] Read more.
Human skin is constantly exposed to damaging ultraviolet radiation (UVR), which induces a number of acute and chronic disorders. To reduce the risk of UV-induced skin injury, people apply an additional external protection in the form of cosmetic products containing sunscreens. Nowadays, because of the use of some chemical filters raises a lot of controversies, research focuses on exploring novel, fully safe and highly efficient natural UV-absorbing compounds that could be used as active ingredients in sun care products. A promising alternative is the application of multifunctional mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs), which can effectively compete with commercially available filters. Here, we outline a complete characterization of these compounds and discuss their enormous biotechnological potential with special emphasis on their use as sunscreens, activators of cells proliferation, anti-cancer agents, anti-photoaging molecules, stimulators of skin renewal, and functional ingredients of UV-protective biomaterials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Products for Health and Beauty)

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