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Origins and Bioactivities of Natural Compounds Derived from Marine Ascidians and Their Symbionts

by Xiaoju Dou 1,4 and Bo Dong 1,2,3,*
Laboratory of Morphogenesis & Evolution, College of Marine Life Sciences, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266003, China
Laboratory for Marine Biology and Biotechnology, Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, Qingdao 266237, China
Institute of Evolution & Marine Biodiversity, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266003, China
College of Agricultural Science and Technology, Tibet Vocational Technical College, Lhasa 850030, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Mar. Drugs 2019, 17(12), 670;
Received: 29 October 2019 / Revised: 25 November 2019 / Accepted: 25 November 2019 / Published: 28 November 2019
Marine ascidians are becoming important drug sources that provide abundant secondary metabolites with novel structures and high bioactivities. As one of the most chemically prolific marine animals, more than 1200 inspirational natural products, such as alkaloids, peptides, and polyketides, with intricate and novel chemical structures have been identified from ascidians. Some of them have been successfully developed as lead compounds or highly efficient drugs. Although numerous compounds that exist in ascidians have been structurally and functionally identified, their origins are not clear. Interestingly, growing evidence has shown that these natural products not only come from ascidians, but they also originate from symbiotic microbes. This review classifies the identified natural products from ascidians and the associated symbionts. Then, we discuss the diversity of ascidian symbiotic microbe communities, which synthesize diverse natural products that are beneficial for the hosts. Identification of the complex interactions between the symbiont and the host is a useful approach to discovering ways that direct the biosynthesis of novel bioactive compounds with pharmaceutical potentials. View Full-Text
Keywords: ascidian; symbiotic microbes; natural compounds ascidian; symbiotic microbes; natural compounds
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Dou, X.; Dong, B. Origins and Bioactivities of Natural Compounds Derived from Marine Ascidians and Their Symbionts. Mar. Drugs 2019, 17, 670.

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