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Special Issue "Marine Small-Molecule Bioactive Agents and Therapeutic Targets"

A special issue of Marine Drugs (ISSN 1660-3397).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2018

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Assist. Prof. Dr. Enrique Barrajón-Catalán

Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular, Universidad Miguel Hernández de Elche, Edificio Torregaitán. 03202. Elche, Alicante. Spain
Website | E-Mail
Interests: natural compounds; polyphenols; marine compounds; cancer; antimicrobial

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues:

Nowadays, at least one-third of the current top-twenty drugs on the market are derived from a natural source, and approximately 50% of the marketed drugs are classified as naturally-derived or are designed on the basis of natural compounds. Marine biodiversity is huge and is correlated with a wide chemical diversity in their compounds, most of them still unknown or uncharacterized. In fact, it is estimated that only 18% of marine natural products have been discovered so far compared with products of terrestrial organisms.

Small molecules, such as small peptides, polyphenols and terpenoids, are especially interesting due their particular pharmacological and pharmacokinetic properties. This Special Issue is focused in these small molecules from marine origin with special interest in the following topics:

  • New small molecules with pharmacological activity and their molecular targets.
  • Anticancer, antimicrobial and antinflammatory small marine molecules.Use of small marine compounds in other diseases.
  • Use in cosmetic, cosmoceutic and nutraceutic products.
  • Purification, chemical characterization  and structural elucidation.
  • In silico virtual screenings and HTS studies.
  • Pharmakokinetics and bioavailability studies.
  • Preclinical and clinical trials.

The aim of this Special Issue is to collect literature that reflect the actual state-of-the-art and increase our knowledge about marine small molecules and their biological activities.

As Guest Editor of this Special Issue, I cordially invite researchers from all around the world to contribute to this Special Issue by submitting original research articles, long and mini review papers, short notes, and opinions according to their expertise.

Prof. Enrique Barrajón-Catalán
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Marine Drugs is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • marine product
  • small molecule
  • polyphenol
  • peptide
  • cancer
  • antimicrobial
  • antiinflammatory

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle Eicosanoid Diversity of Stony Corals
Mar. Drugs 2018, 16(1), 10; doi:10.3390/md16010010
Received: 9 November 2017 / Revised: 13 December 2017 / Accepted: 20 December 2017 / Published: 3 January 2018
PDF Full-text (1265 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Oxylipins are well-established lipid mediators in plants and animals. In mammals, arachidonic acid (AA)-derived eicosanoids control inflammation, fever, blood coagulation, pain perception and labor, and, accordingly, are used as drugs, while lipoxygenases (LOX), as well as cyclooxygenases (COX) serve as therapeutic targets for
[...] Read more.
Oxylipins are well-established lipid mediators in plants and animals. In mammals, arachidonic acid (AA)-derived eicosanoids control inflammation, fever, blood coagulation, pain perception and labor, and, accordingly, are used as drugs, while lipoxygenases (LOX), as well as cyclooxygenases (COX) serve as therapeutic targets for drug development. In soft corals, eicosanoids are synthesized on demand from AA by LOX, COX, and catalase-related allene oxide synthase-lipoxygenase (cAOS-LOX) and hydroperoxide lyase-lipoxygenase (cHPL-LOX) fusion proteins. Reef-building stony corals are used as model organisms for the stress-related genomic studies of corals. Yet, the eicosanoid synthesis capability and AA-derived lipid mediator profiles of stony corals have not been determined. In the current study, the genomic and transcriptomic data about stony coral LOXs, AOS-LOXs, and COXs were analyzed and the eicosanoid profiles and AA metabolites of three stony corals, Acropora millepora, A. cervicornis, and Galaxea fascicularis, were determined by reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC) coupled with MS-MS and a radiometric detector. Our results confirm that the active LOX and AOS-LOX pathways are present in Acropora sp., which correspond to the genomic/sequence data reported earlier. In addition, LOX, AOS-LOX, and COX products were detected in the closely related species G. fascicularis. In conclusion, the functional 8R-LOX and/or AOS-LOX pathways are abundant among corals, while COXs are restricted to certain soft and stony coral lineages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Small-Molecule Bioactive Agents and Therapeutic Targets)

Figure 1

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Virtual screening of potential modulators of the protein kinases mTor and c-JNK in the Marine Natural Products database
Author: José Antonio Encinar

Title: Antiproliferative effects of invertebrate marine extracts on human colon cancer cell lines
Authors: Verónica Ruiz-Torres, Enrique Barrajón-Catalán and Vicente Micol
Abstract: Marine organisms represent a promising and unexploited source of bioactive molecules for drug discovery. Marine natural products (MNPs) are considered an interesting source of anticancer compounds. To date, five of these compounds have been approved for use as pharmaceutical drugs in cancer treatment and seventeen are in the pipeline of compounds for testing in clinical trials. This paper shows a screening of the antiproliferative activity of extracts derived from marine invertebrates in human colon cancer cell models. A total of twenty dichloromethane extracts and their fractions (ethyl acetate, hexane and butanol) were assayed for their antiproliferative activity using the MTT colorimetric method for cytotoxicity, the real time cellular analyzer (RTCA) and the clonogenic assay. Two nudibranch (NA and NB), an holothurian (PS) and a soft coral (CR) complete extracts showed the best cytotoxic activity using HGUE-C-1, HT29 and SW480 colon cancer cells. The main compounds of the complete extracts were identified by using a high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry detection (HPLC-MS). Anexin V and mitopotencial tests indicated that marine extracts promoted cell death through an apoptotic pathway and a cytostatic effect with cell cycle arrest. The cytotoxic properties of the tested extracts observed in this preliminary screening suggest the presence of compounds with pharmacological potential but further investigations are required to determine the responsible compounds and its putative mechanism.

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