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Phytochemistry. 2007 Apr;68(7):954-79. Epub 2007 Mar 2.

Bioactive natural products from marine cyanobacteria for drug discovery.

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Natural Sciences and Science Education, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, 1 Nanyang Walk, Singapore 637616, Singapore. <>


The prokaryotic marine cyanobacteria continue to be an important source of structurally bioactive secondary metabolites. A majority of these molecules are nitrogen-containing compounds biosynthesized by large multimodular nonribosomal polypeptide (NRP) or mixed polyketide-NRP enzymatic systems. A total of 128 marine cyanobacterial alkaloids, published in the literature between January 2001 and December 2006, are presented in this review with emphasis on their biosynthesis and biological activities. In addition, a number of highly cytotoxic compounds such as hectochlorin, lyngbyabellins, apratoxins, and aurilides have been identified as potential lead compounds for the development of anticancer agents. A brief coverage on the distribution of natural product biosynthetic genes as well as the mechanisms of tailoring enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of cyanobacterial compounds will also be given.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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