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Nuisance seaweed found to produce compounds with biomedical potential
Date:5/25/2012

ps for analysis.

Choi, Gerwick and their colleagues conducted various laboratory experiments and discovered that the seaweed (the cyanobacterium Leptolyngbya crossbyana) generates natural products known as honaucins with potent anti-inflammation and bacteria-controlling properties.

Specifically, the substances hamper bacteria's ability to "swarm" over surfaces. For example, when overtaking a new area, bacteria secrete small amounts of a substance known as a quorum sensing factor, which tests to see if the new surface is safe for colonization. Halting a quorum sensing factor could one day translate to a treatment for bacterial infections. For instance, this could be critical, Gerwick said, in the development of drugs to prevent infection in patients who require catheters to deliver vital nutrients to key areas such as arteries, as well the development of new treatments for acne and other skin conditions.

"I think this finding is a nice illustration of how we need to look more deeply in our environment because even nuisance pests, as it turns out, are not just pests," said Gerwick. "It's a long road to go from this early-stage discovery to application in the clinic but it's the only road if we want new and more efficacious medicines."

"These organisms have been on the planet for millions of years and so it is not surprising that they have evolved numerous strategies for competing with neighboring species, including chemical warfare," said Smith. "Several species of cyanobacteria and algae are known to produce novel compounds, many that have promising use in drug development for human and other uses."


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Contact: Mario Aguilera
scrippsnews@ucsd.edu
858-534-3624
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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