A screening program for bioactive compounds from marine cyanobacteria led to the isolation of jamaicamides A-C. Jamaicamide A is a novel and highly functionalized lipopeptide containing an alkynyl bromide, vinyl chloride, beta-methoxy eneone system, and pyrrolinone ring. The jamaicamides show sodium channelblocking activity and fish toxicity. Precursor feeding to jamaicamide-producing cultures mapped out the series of acetate and amino acid residues and helped develop an effective cloning strategy for the biosynthetic gene cluster. The 58 kbp gene cluster is composed of 17 open reading frames that show an exact colinearity with their expected utilization. A novel cassette of genes appears to form a pendent carbon atom possessing the vinyl chloride functionality; at its core this contains an HMG-CoA synthase-like motif, giving insight into the mechanism by which this functional group is created.
Curacin A (1) is a potent cancer cell toxin obtained from strains of the tropical marine cyanobacterium Lyngbya majuscula found in Curaçao. Its structure is unique in that it contains the sequential positioning of a thiazoline and cyclopropyl ring, and it exerts its potent cell toxicity through interaction with the colchicine drug binding site on microtubules. A series of stable isotope-labeled precursors were fed to cultures of curacin A-producing strains and, following NMR analysis, allowed determination of the metabolic origin of all atoms in the natural product (one cysteine, 10 acetate units, two S-adenosyl methionine-derived methyl groups) as well as several unique mechanistic insights. Moreover, these incorporation experiments facilitated an effective gene cloning strategy that allowed identification and sequencing of the approximately 64 kb putative curacin A gene cluster. The metabolic system is comprised of a nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) and multiple polyketide synthases (PKSs) and shows a very high level of collinearity between genes in the cluster and the predicted biochemical steps required for curacin biosynthesis. Unique features of the cluster include (1) all but one of the PKSs are monomodular multifunctional proteins, (2) a unique gene cassette that contains an HMG-CoA synthase likely responsible for formation of the cyclopropyl ring, and (3) a terminating motif that is predicted to function in both product release and terminal dehydrative decarboxylation.
Hectochlorin (1) was isolated from marine isolates of Lyngbya majuscula collected from Hector Bay, Jamaica, and Boca del Drago Beach, Bocas del Toro, Panama. The planar structure was deduced by one- and two-dimensional NMR spectroscopy. X-ray crystallography was used to determine the absolute stereochemistry of hectochlorin as 2S,3S,14S,22S. Hectochlorin is equipotent to jasplakinolide (5) in its ability to promote actin polymerization, but unlike jasplakinolide, is unable to displace a fluorescent phalloidin analogue from polymerized actin. In addition, hectochlorin shows both a unique profile of cytotoxicity by the COMPARE algorithm and potent inhibitory activity toward the fungus Candida albicans. Structurally, hectochlorin resembles dolabellin and the recently reported lyngbyabellin class of compounds.
The extract from a laboratory culture of an Indonesian isolate of the cyanobacterium Phormidium sp. displayed inhibitory activity in a Ras-Raf protein interaction assay. Assay-guided fractionation led to the isolation of both active and inactive materials of novel structure. The major inactive metabolite, phormidolide, was nevertheless highly toxic to brine shrimp (LC(50) = 1.5 microM), and hence, its structure was elucidated using various spectroscopic methods, primarily NMR. A series of partial structures were developed from standard experiments and then assembled using GHMBC, 2D INADEQUATE, and ACCORD-ADEQUATE data obtained on a (13)C-enriched sample. The relative stereochemistry at phormidolide's 11 chiral centers was established using the J-based configuration analysis method in concert with the G-BIRD(R)-HSQMBC NMR experiment. Absolute stereochemistry was determined on a bis-acetonide derivative using the variable temperature Mosher ester method. The robust number of NMR restraints provided from determination of most homonuclear and heteronuclear coupling constants in phormidolide, along with an abundance of NOE information, allowed construction of a refined lowest energy three-dimensional structure in Macromodel. Phormidolide is one of only a few macrolide-type natural products to be reported from marine cyanobacteria.
Although, glial cells have well characterized functions in the developing and mature brain, it is only in the past decade that roles for these cells in behavior and plasticity have been delineated. Glial astrocytes and glia-neuron signaling, for example, are now known to have important modulatory functions in sleep, circadian behavior, memory and plasticity. To better understand mechanisms of glia-neuron signaling in the context of behavior, we have conducted cell-specific, genome-wide expression profiling of adult Drosophila astrocyte-like brain cells and performed RNA interference (RNAi)-based genetic screens to identify glial factors that regulate behavior. Importantly, our studies demonstrate that adult fly astrocyte-like cells and mouse astrocytes have similar molecular signatures; in contrast, fly astrocytes and surface glia—different classes of glial cells—have distinct expression profiles. Glial-specific expression of 653 RNAi constructs targeting 318 genes identified multiple factors associated with altered locomotor activity, circadian rhythmicity and/or responses to mechanical stress (bang sensitivity). Of interest, 1 of the relevant genes encodes a vesicle recycling factor, 4 encode secreted proteins and 3 encode membrane transporters. These results strongly support the idea that glia-neuron communication is vital for adult behavior.
Previous studies of childhood traumatic brain injury (TBI) have emphasized injury-related variables rather than psychiatric or psychosocial factors as correlates of cognitive outcomes. We addressed this concern by recruiting a consecutive series (N 5 24) of children age 5 through 14 years who suffered a severe TBI, a matched group who sustained a mild TBI, and a second matched group who sustained an orthopedic injury. Standardized intellectual, memory, psychiatric, family functioning, family psychiatric history, neurological, and neuroimaging assessments were conducted at an average of 2 years following injury. Severe TBI, when compared to mild TBI and orthopedic injury, was associated with significant decrements in intellectual and memory function. A principal components analysis of independent variables that showed significant ( p , .05) bivariate correlations with the outcome measures yielded a neuropsychiatric factor encompassing severity of TBI indices and postinjury psychiatric disorders and a psychosocial disadvantage factor. Both factors were independently and significantly related to intellectual and memory function outcome. Postinjury psychiatric disorders added significantly to severity indices and family functioning and family psychiatric history added significantly to socioeconomic status in explaining several specific cognitive outcomes. These results may help to define subgroups of children who will require more intensive services following their injuries. (JINS, 1999, 5, 58-68.)
scite is a Brooklyn-based organization that helps researchers better discover and understand research articles through Smart Citations–citations that display the context of the citation and describe whether the article provides supporting or contrasting evidence. scite is used by students and researchers from around the world and is funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health.