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Special Issue "Jellyfish and Polyps: Cnidarians as Sustainable Resources for Biotechnological Applications and Bioprospecting"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Antonella Leone

1. National Research Council, Institute of Sciences of Food Production, Via Prov. le Lecce-Monteroni, 73100 Lecce, Italy
2. CoNISMa, Consorzio Nazionale Interuniversitario per le Scienze del Mare
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +39 0832 422615
Fax: +39 0832 422620
Interests: marine bioactive products; anticancer mechanisms of natural compounds; natural products; gap junction intercellular communications (GJIC); nutraceuticals; novel foods; phytochemicals; food industry byproducts; cell culture systems; invertebrates
Guest Editor
Dr. Gian Luigi Mariottini

Department of Earth, Environment and Life Sciences, University of Genova, Italy
E-Mail
Phone: +390103538070
Interests: natural bioactive compounds; toxicology; cytotoxicology; Cnidaria; drug discovery; ecotoxicology
Guest Editor
Prof. Stefano Piraino

1. Università del Salento, Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Biologiche ed Ambientali, 73100 Lecce, Italy
2. CoNISMa, Consorzio Nazionale Interuniversitario per le Scienze del Mare
E-Mail
Phone: +39 0832 298616
Interests: marine invertebrate zoology and developmental biology; focused on cnidarian zoology and evolutionary developmental biology; integrative taxonomy; systematics; ecology; trophic ecology; genetic connectivity; marine bioinvasions; metagenomics; reverse development; cell transdifferentiation; organogenesis; bioactive compounds; biotechnological applications

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Climate change and other concurrent anthropogenic causes are influencing the frequency and abundance of jellyfish blooms, with large impacts on the structure and functioning of marine plankton ecosystems as well as on human activities in coastal zones. In parallel, sea anemones, corals and less familiar forms of benthic polypoid cnidarians constitute a major group of suspension feeders governing energy transfer from water column to the seafloor organisms.

Their outstanding ecological importance in worldwide marine ecosystems calls for increased global monitoring of cnidarian ecology and life cycles. At the same time, many cnidarians are now regarded as potential sustainable resource, calling for new investigations on their chemical and biochemical composition, the physical–chemical features and supramolecular organization of their protein components, the screening and identification of bioactive molecules, the associate microbioma and their possible biotechnological exploitation in different fields.

The apparent vulnerability of their soft bodies, coupled to their limited swimming ability and wide biodiversity with about 13,400 living described species, make cnidarians top candidate for the development of biochemical strategies for survival (feeding, defense) and reproduction, including symbiosis or other relationships with microbes and other organisms. Venomous compounds occurring in extracts of cnidarians are viewed with particular interest for both aims, mitigation of their adverse effects and their possible beneficial use for humans. Further, in the pharmacopeia of traditional medicine of Eastern Countries, jellyfish are regarded as a treatment for disorders and diseases and represent a valuable foodstuff with health benefits, suggesting the occurrence of bioactive compounds. Despite the increasing attention on jellyfish blooms, scientific knowledge supporting their possible utilization and exploitation is still limited.

This Special Issue will collect novel research papers and original reviews focusing on bioprospecting marine cnidarians and on the exploitation of their biomasses and derived compounds for biotechnological and biomedical applications, as well as active ingredients for pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, cosmetic and cosmeceutical uses.

Dr. Antonella Leone
Dr. Gian Luigi Mariottini
Prof. Stefano Piraino
Guest Editors

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.

Keywords

  • jellyfish proteins
  • bioactive compounds
  • biopeptides
  • biodiversity
  • anti-cancer
  • photoprotection
  • jellyfish collagen
  • marine biomaterials
  • jellyfish symbionts
  • cosmetics and cosmeceutics
  • nutraceuticals
  • novel foods
  • jellyfish associated microbiome
  • sustainable farming
  • sustainable fishery

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle The Large Jellyfish Rhizostoma luteum as Sustainable a Resource for Antioxidant Properties, Nutraceutical Value and Biomedical Applications
Mar. Drugs 2018, 16(10), 396; https://doi.org/10.3390/md16100396 (registering DOI)
Received: 26 September 2018 / Revised: 17 October 2018 / Accepted: 18 October 2018 / Published: 21 October 2018
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Abstract
Jellyfish is a compartment in the marine food web that often achieves high increases of biomass and that it is starting to be explored for several human potential uses. In this paper, a recently rediscovered large jellyfish, Rhizostoma luteum, is studied for
[...] Read more.
Jellyfish is a compartment in the marine food web that often achieves high increases of biomass and that it is starting to be explored for several human potential uses. In this paper, a recently rediscovered large jellyfish, Rhizostoma luteum, is studied for the first time to describe its organic compounds for the isolation and production of bioactive compounds in several fields of food, cosmetics, or biomedical industries. The biogeochemical composition (Carbon, Nitrogen and Sulfur content), protein and phenols content, together with their antioxidant activity, and the analysis of lipid content (identifying each of the fatty acids presented) was analyzed. The results presented here suggested this jellyfish has the highest antioxidant activity ever measured in a jellyfish, but also with high content in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), including the essential fatty acid linoleic. The large natural biomass of Rhizostoma luteum in nature, the wide geographical spread, the fact that already its life cycle has been completed in captivity, establishes a promising positive association of this giant jellyfish species and the isolation of bioactive compounds for future use in marine biotechnology. Full article
Open AccessArticle Stress-Induced Mucus Secretion and Its Composition by a Combination of Proteomics and Metabolomics of the Jellyfish Aurelia coerulea
Mar. Drugs 2018, 16(9), 341; https://doi.org/10.3390/md16090341
Received: 24 August 2018 / Revised: 5 September 2018 / Accepted: 9 September 2018 / Published: 18 September 2018
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Abstract
Background: Jellyfish respond quickly to external stress that stimulates mucus secretion as a defense. Neither the composition of secreted mucus nor the process of secretion are well understood. Methods: Aurelia coerulea jellyfish were stimulated by removing them from environmental seawater. Secreted mucus and
[...] Read more.
Background: Jellyfish respond quickly to external stress that stimulates mucus secretion as a defense. Neither the composition of secreted mucus nor the process of secretion are well understood. Methods: Aurelia coerulea jellyfish were stimulated by removing them from environmental seawater. Secreted mucus and tissue samples were then collected within 60 min, and analyzed by a combination of proteomics and metabolomics using liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and ultra-performance liquid chromatography/quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UPLC-QTOF-MS/MS), respectively. Results: Two phases of sample collection displayed a quick decrease in volume, followed by a gradual increase. A total of 2421 and 1208 proteins were identified in tissue homogenate and secreted mucus, respectively. Gene Ontology (GO) analysis showed that the mucus-enriched proteins are mainly located in extracellular or membrane-associated regions, while the tissue-enriched proteins are distributed throughout intracellular compartments. Tryptamine, among 16 different metabolites, increased with the largest-fold change value of 7.8 in mucus, which is consistent with its involvement in the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway ‘tryptophan metabolism’. We identified 11 metalloproteinases, four serpins, three superoxide dismutases and three complements, and their presence was speculated to be related to self-protective defense. Conclusions: Our results provide a composition profile of proteins and metabolites in stress-induced mucus and tissue homogenate of A. coerulea. This provides insight for the ongoing endeavors to discover novel bioactive compounds. The large increase of tryptamine in mucus may indicate a strong stress response when jellyfish were taken out of seawater and the active self-protective components such as enzymes, serpins and complements potentially play a key role in innate immunity of jellyfish. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Holo-Transcriptome of the Zoantharian Protopalythoa variabilis (Cnidaria: Anthozoa): A Plentiful Source of Enzymes for Potential Application in Green Chemistry, Industrial and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology
Mar. Drugs 2018, 16(6), 207; https://doi.org/10.3390/md16060207
Received: 1 May 2018 / Revised: 5 June 2018 / Accepted: 8 June 2018 / Published: 13 June 2018
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Abstract
Marine invertebrates, such as sponges, tunicates and cnidarians (zoantharians and scleractinian corals), form functional assemblages, known as holobionts, with numerous microbes. This type of species-specific symbiotic association can be a repository of myriad valuable low molecular weight organic compounds, bioactive peptides and enzymes.
[...] Read more.
Marine invertebrates, such as sponges, tunicates and cnidarians (zoantharians and scleractinian corals), form functional assemblages, known as holobionts, with numerous microbes. This type of species-specific symbiotic association can be a repository of myriad valuable low molecular weight organic compounds, bioactive peptides and enzymes. The zoantharian Protopalythoa variabilis (Cnidaria: Anthozoa) is one such example of a marine holobiont that inhabits the coastal reefs of the tropical Atlantic coast and is an interesting source of secondary metabolites and biologically active polypeptides. In the present study, we analyzed the entire holo-transcriptome of P. variabilis, looking for enzyme precursors expressed in the zoantharian-microbiota assemblage that are potentially useful as industrial biocatalysts and biopharmaceuticals. In addition to hundreds of predicted enzymes that fit into the classes of hydrolases, oxidoreductases and transferases that were found, novel enzyme precursors with multiple activities in single structures and enzymes with incomplete Enzyme Commission numbers were revealed. Our results indicated the predictive expression of thirteen multifunctional enzymes and 694 enzyme sequences with partially characterized activities, distributed in 23 sub-subclasses. These predicted enzyme structures and activities can prospectively be harnessed for applications in diverse areas of industrial and pharmaceutical biotechnology. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Proteomic Analyses of the Unexplored Sea Anemone Bunodactis verrucosa
Mar. Drugs 2018, 16(2), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/md16020042
Received: 21 November 2017 / Revised: 14 December 2017 / Accepted: 15 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2654 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Cnidarian toxic products, particularly peptide toxins, constitute a promising target for biomedicine research. Indeed, cnidarians are considered as the largest phylum of generally toxic animals. However, research on peptides and toxins of sea anemones is still limited. Moreover, most of the toxins from
[...] Read more.
Cnidarian toxic products, particularly peptide toxins, constitute a promising target for biomedicine research. Indeed, cnidarians are considered as the largest phylum of generally toxic animals. However, research on peptides and toxins of sea anemones is still limited. Moreover, most of the toxins from sea anemones have been discovered by classical purification approaches. Recently, high-throughput methodologies have been used for this purpose but in other Phyla. Hence, the present work was focused on the proteomic analyses of whole-body extract from the unexplored sea anemone Bunodactis verrucosa. The proteomic analyses applied were based on two methods: two-dimensional gel electrophoresis combined with MALDI-TOF/TOF and shotgun proteomic approach. In total, 413 proteins were identified, but only eight proteins were identified from gel-based analyses. Such proteins are mainly involved in basal metabolism and biosynthesis of antibiotics as the most relevant pathways. In addition, some putative toxins including metalloproteinases and neurotoxins were also identified. These findings reinforce the significance of the production of antimicrobial compounds and toxins by sea anemones, which play a significant role in defense and feeding. In general, the present study provides the first proteome map of the sea anemone B. verrucosa stablishing a reference for future studies in the discovery of new compounds. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview Cnidarian Interaction with Microbial Communities: From Aid to Animal’s Health to Rejection Responses
Mar. Drugs 2018, 16(9), 296; https://doi.org/10.3390/md16090296
Received: 27 July 2018 / Revised: 11 August 2018 / Accepted: 16 August 2018 / Published: 23 August 2018
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Abstract
The phylum Cnidaria is an ancient branch in the tree of metazoans. Several species exert a remarkable longevity, suggesting the existence of a developed and consistent defense mechanism of the innate immunity capable to overcome the potential repeated exposure to microbial pathogenic agents.
[...] Read more.
The phylum Cnidaria is an ancient branch in the tree of metazoans. Several species exert a remarkable longevity, suggesting the existence of a developed and consistent defense mechanism of the innate immunity capable to overcome the potential repeated exposure to microbial pathogenic agents. Increasing evidence indicates that the innate immune system in Cnidarians is not only involved in the disruption of harmful microorganisms, but also is crucial in structuring tissue-associated microbial communities that are essential components of the Cnidarian holobiont and useful to the animal’s health for several functions, including metabolism, immune defense, development, and behavior. Sometimes, the shifts in the normal microbiota may be used as “early” bio-indicators of both environmental changes and/or animal disease. Here the Cnidarians relationships with microbial communities and the potential biotechnological applications are summarized and discussed. Full article
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