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Open AccessArticle

Monoacylglycerides from the Diatom Skeletonema marinoi Induce Selective Cell Death in Cancer Cells

CEINGE-Biotecnologie Avanzate, 80145 Naples, Italy
CNR-Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry, Via Campi Flegrei 34, Pozzuoli, 80078 Naples, Italy
Department of Precision Medicine, University of Campania ‘Luigi Vanvitelli’, Via L. De Crecchio 7, 80138 Naples, Italy
Institute of Biostructures and Bioimaging (IBB-CNR), Via Mezzocannone 16, 80134 Naples, Italy
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Milan, via Venezian 21, 20133 Milan, Italy
Marine Biotechnology Department, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Villa Comunale, 80121 Naples, Italy
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Mar. Drugs 2019, 17(11), 625;
Received: 19 September 2019 / Revised: 22 October 2019 / Accepted: 28 October 2019 / Published: 1 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioactive Compounds Derived from Marine Microalgae)
Microalgae are an excellent source of valuable compounds for nutraceutical and cosmeceutical applications. These photosynthesizing microorganisms are amenable for large-scale production, thus overcoming the bottleneck of biomass supply for chemical and activity characterization of bioactive compounds. This characteristic has recently also prompted the screening of microalgae for potential pharmaceutical applications. Here, we show that monoacylglycerides (MAGs) purified from the marine diatom Skeletonema marinoi have selective cytotoxic activity against the haematological cancer cell line U-937 and colon cancer cell line HCT-116 compared to normal MePR-2B cells. LC-MS analysis of the raw extract revealed that in their natural form, MAGs occur as 2-monoacyl derivatives and include mainly C16 and C20 analogues, but they are converted into the corresponding 1-isomers during purification processes. Pure compounds along with the synthetic 1-monoarachidonoylglycerol tested on HCT-116 and U-937 tumor cell lines induced cell death via apoptosis. The mechanism of action was investigated, and we show that it involves the induction of apoptosis through caspase 3/7 activation. These findings pave the way for the possible use of these molecules as potential anticancer agents or as precursors for the generation of new and more potent and selective compounds against tumor cells. View Full-Text
Keywords: diatoms; Skeletonema marinoi; cytotoxic activity; NMR; MS; bioactive lipids diatoms; Skeletonema marinoi; cytotoxic activity; NMR; MS; bioactive lipids
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Miceli, M.; Cutignano, A.; Conte, M.; Ummarino, R.; Romanelli, A.; Ruvo, M.; Leone, M.; Mercurio, F.A.; Doti, N.; Manzo, E.; Romano, G.; Altucci, L.; Ianora, A. Monoacylglycerides from the Diatom Skeletonema marinoi Induce Selective Cell Death in Cancer Cells. Mar. Drugs 2019, 17, 625.

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