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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: closed (31 March 2019)

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 2000 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 (11 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
A Multi-screening Evaluation of the Nutritional and Nutraceutical Potential of the Mediterranean Jellyfish Pelagia noctiluca
Mar. Drugs 2019, 17(3), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/md17030172
Received: 30 January 2019 / Revised: 8 March 2019 / Accepted: 13 March 2019 / Published: 17 March 2019
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Abstract
The phylum Cnidaria is one of the most important contributors in providing abundance of bio- and chemodiversity. In this study, a comprehensive chemical investigation on the nutritional and nutraceutical properties of Mediterranean jellyfish Pelagia noctiluca was carried out. Also, compositional differences between male [...] Read more.
The phylum Cnidaria is one of the most important contributors in providing abundance of bio- and chemodiversity. In this study, a comprehensive chemical investigation on the nutritional and nutraceutical properties of Mediterranean jellyfish Pelagia noctiluca was carried out. Also, compositional differences between male and female organisms, as well as between their main anatomical parts, namely bell and oral arms, were explored in an attempt to select the best potential sources of nutrients and/or nutraceuticals from jellyfish. With the exception of higher energy densities and total phenolic contents observed in females than males, no statistically significant differences related to the specimen’s sex were highlighted for the other compound classes. Rather, the distribution of the investigated chemical classes varied depending on the jellyfish’s body parts. In fact, crude proteins were more abundant in oral arms than bells; saturated fatty acids were more concentrated in bells than oral arms, whereas polyunsaturated fatty acids were distributed in the exact opposite way. On the other hand, major elements and trace elements demonstrated an opposite behavior, being the latter most accumulated in oral arms than bells. Additionally, important nutraceuticals, such as eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids, and antioxidant minerals, were determined. Overall, obtained data suggest the potential employment of the Mediterranean P. noctiluca for the development of natural aquafeed and food supplements. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Antitumor Anthraquinones from an Easter Island Sea Anemone: Animal or Bacterial Origin?
Mar. Drugs 2019, 17(3), 154; https://doi.org/10.3390/md17030154
Received: 31 January 2019 / Revised: 26 February 2019 / Accepted: 26 February 2019 / Published: 5 March 2019
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Abstract
The presence of two known anthraquinones, Lupinacidin A and Galvaquinone B, which have antitumor activity, has been identified in the sea anemone (Gyractis sesere) from Easter Island. So far, these anthraquinones have been characterized from terrestrial and marine Actinobacteria only. In [...] Read more.
The presence of two known anthraquinones, Lupinacidin A and Galvaquinone B, which have antitumor activity, has been identified in the sea anemone (Gyractis sesere) from Easter Island. So far, these anthraquinones have been characterized from terrestrial and marine Actinobacteria only. In order to identify the anthraquinones producer, we isolated Actinobacteria associated with the sea anemone and obtained representatives of seven actinobacterial genera. Studies of cultures of these bacteria by HPLC, NMR, and HRLCMS analyses showed that the producer of Lupinacidin A and Galvaquinone B indeed was one of the isolated Actinobacteria. The producer strain, SN26_14.1, was identified as a representative of the genus Verrucosispora. Genome analysis supported the biosynthetic potential to the production of these compounds by this strain. This study adds Verrucosispora as a new genus to the anthraquinone producers, in addition to well-known species of Streptomyces and Micromonospora. By a cultivation-based approach, the responsibility of symbionts of a marine invertebrate for the production of complex natural products found within the animal’s extracts could be demonstrated. This finding re-opens the debate about the producers of secondary metabolites in sea animals. Finally, it provides valuable information about the chemistry of bacteria harbored in the geographically-isolated and almost unstudied, Easter Island. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Barrel Jellyfish (Rhizostoma pulmo) as Source of Antioxidant Peptides
Mar. Drugs 2019, 17(2), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/md17020134
Received: 31 January 2019 / Revised: 15 February 2019 / Accepted: 19 February 2019 / Published: 23 February 2019
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Abstract
The jellyfish Rhizostoma pulmo, Macrì 1778 (Cnidaria, Rhizostomae) undergoes recurrent outbreaks in the Mediterranean coastal waters, with large biomass populations representing a nuisance or damage for marine and maritime activities. A preliminary overview of the antioxidant activity (AA) of R. pulmo proteinaceous [...] Read more.
The jellyfish Rhizostoma pulmo, Macrì 1778 (Cnidaria, Rhizostomae) undergoes recurrent outbreaks in the Mediterranean coastal waters, with large biomass populations representing a nuisance or damage for marine and maritime activities. A preliminary overview of the antioxidant activity (AA) of R. pulmo proteinaceous compounds is provided here based on the extraction and characterization of both soluble and insoluble membrane-fractioned proteins, the latter digested by sequential enzymatic hydrolyses with pepsin and collagenases. All jellyfish proteins showed significant AA, with low molecular weight (MW) proteins correlated with greater antioxidant activity. In particular, collagenase-hydrolysed collagen resulted in peptides with MW lower than 3 kDa, ranging 3–10 kDa or 10–30 kDa, with AA inversely proportional to MW. No cytotoxic effect was detected on cultured human keratinocytes (HEKa) in a range of protein concentration 0.05–20 μg/mL for all tested protein fractions except for soluble proteins higher than 30 kDa, likely containing the jellyfish venom compounds. Furthermore, hydrolyzed jellyfish collagen peptides showed a significantly higher AA and provided a greater protective effect against oxidative stress in HEKa than the hydrolyzed collagen peptides from vertebrates. Due to a high reproductive potential, jellyfish may represent a potential socioeconomic opportunity as a source of natural bioactive compounds, with far-reaching beneficial implications. Eventually, improvements in processing technology will promote the use of untapped marine biomasses in nutraceutical, cosmeceutical, and pharmaceutical fields, turning marine management problems into a more positive perspective. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Jellyfish Rhizostoma pulmo (Cnidaria): Biochemical Composition of Ovaries and Antibacterial Lysozyme-like Activity of the Oocyte Lysate
Mar. Drugs 2019, 17(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/md17010017
Received: 18 October 2018 / Revised: 21 December 2018 / Accepted: 23 December 2018 / Published: 29 December 2018
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Abstract
Jellyfish outbreaks in marine coastal areas represent an emergent problem worldwide, with negative consequences on human activities and ecosystem functioning. However, potential positive effects of jellyfish biomass proliferation may be envisaged as a natural source of bioactive compounds of pharmaceutical interest. We investigated [...] Read more.
Jellyfish outbreaks in marine coastal areas represent an emergent problem worldwide, with negative consequences on human activities and ecosystem functioning. However, potential positive effects of jellyfish biomass proliferation may be envisaged as a natural source of bioactive compounds of pharmaceutical interest. We investigated the biochemical composition of mature female gonads and lysozyme antibacterial activity of oocytes in the Mediterranean barrel jellyfish Rhizostoma pulmo. Chemical characterization was performed by means of multinuclear and multidimensional NMR spectroscopy. The ovaries of R. pulmo were mainly composed of water (93.7 ± 1.9% of wet weight), with organic matter (OM) and dry weight made respectively of proteins (761.76 ± 25.11 µg mg−1 and 45.7 ± 1.5%), lipids (192.17 ± 10.56 µg mg−1 and 9.6 ± 0.6%), and carbohydrates (59.66 ± 2.72 µg mg−1 and 3.7 ± 0.3%). The aqueous extract of R. pulmo gonads contained free amino acids, organic acids, and derivatives; the lipid extract was composed of triglycerides (TG), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), diunsaturated fatty acids (DUFAs), monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), saturated fatty acids (SFAs), and minor components such as sterols and phospholipids. The R. pulmo oocyte lysate exhibited an antibacterial lysozyme-like activity (mean diameter of lysis of 9.33 ± 0.32 mm corresponding to 1.21 mg/mL of hen egg-white lysozyme). The occurrence of defense molecules is a crucial mechanism to grant healthy development of mature eggs and fertilized embryos (and the reproductive success of the species) by preventing marine bacterial overgrowth. As a corollary, these results call for future investigations for an exploitation of R. pulmo biomasses as a resource of bioactive metabolites of biotechnological importance including pharmaceuticals and nutrition. Full article
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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
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
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (6117 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
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
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2383 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
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
Jellyfish-Associated Microbiome in the Marine Environment: Exploring Its Biotechnological Potential
Mar. Drugs 2019, 17(2), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/md17020094
Received: 9 January 2019 / Revised: 25 January 2019 / Accepted: 29 January 2019 / Published: 1 February 2019
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Abstract
Despite accumulating evidence of the importance of the jellyfish-associated microbiome to jellyfish, its potential relevance to blue biotechnology has only recently been recognized. In this review, we emphasize the biotechnological potential of host–microorganism systems and focus on gelatinous zooplankton as a host for [...] Read more.
Despite accumulating evidence of the importance of the jellyfish-associated microbiome to jellyfish, its potential relevance to blue biotechnology has only recently been recognized. In this review, we emphasize the biotechnological potential of host–microorganism systems and focus on gelatinous zooplankton as a host for the microbiome with biotechnological potential. The basic characteristics of jellyfish-associated microbial communities, the mechanisms underlying the jellyfish-microbe relationship, and the role/function of the jellyfish-associated microbiome and its biotechnological potential are reviewed. It appears that the jellyfish-associated microbiome is discrete from the microbial community in the ambient seawater, exhibiting a certain degree of specialization with some preferences for specific jellyfish taxa and for specific jellyfish populations, life stages, and body parts. In addition, different sampling approaches and methodologies to study the phylogenetic diversity of the jellyfish-associated microbiome are described and discussed. Finally, some general conclusions are drawn from the existing literature and future research directions are highlighted on the jellyfish-associated microbiome. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Anemonia viridis Venom: Coupling Biochemical Purification and RNA-Seq for Translational Research
Mar. Drugs 2018, 16(11), 407; https://doi.org/10.3390/md16110407
Received: 29 September 2018 / Revised: 20 October 2018 / Accepted: 24 October 2018 / Published: 25 October 2018
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Abstract
Blue biotechnologies implement marine bio-resources for addressing practical concerns. The isolation of biologically active molecules from marine animals is one of the main ways this field develops. Strikingly, cnidaria are considered as sustainable resources for this purpose, as they possess unique cells for [...] Read more.
Blue biotechnologies implement marine bio-resources for addressing practical concerns. The isolation of biologically active molecules from marine animals is one of the main ways this field develops. Strikingly, cnidaria are considered as sustainable resources for this purpose, as they possess unique cells for attack and protection, producing an articulated cocktail of bioactive substances. The Mediterranean sea anemone Anemonia viridis has been studied extensively for years. In this short review, we summarize advances in bioprospecting of the A. viridis toxin arsenal. A. viridis RNA datasets and toxin data mining approaches are briefly described. Analysis reveals the major pool of neurotoxins of A. viridis, which are particularly active on sodium and potassium channels. This review therefore integrates progress in both RNA-Seq based and biochemical-based bioprospecting of A. viridis toxins for biotechnological exploitation. Full article
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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
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1174 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
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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