Molluscs vs. bacteria: New finding on marine natural products biosynthesis

Molluscs vs. bacteria: New finding on marine natural products biosynthesis

The gastropod mollusc Scaphander lignarius — a marine invertebrate found in North Atlantic and Mediterranean water — is the first organism, besides bacteria, in which the biosynthesis of lignarenones, organic molecules involved in organism’s chemical defence, has been identified.

via ScienceDaily: Ecology News:

July 25, 2013 — The gastropod mollusc Scaphander lignarius — a marine invertebrate found in North Atlantic and Mediterranean water — is the first organism, besides bacteria, in which the biosynthesis of lignarenones, organic molecules involved in organism’s chemical defence, has been identified. This is one of the main conclusions of an article published on the cover of the journal ChemBioChem.Experts Conxita Àvila and Anna Domènech-Coll, from the Department of Animal Biology at the Faculty of Biology of the UB, affiliated centre with the campus of international excellence BKC, collaborated in the article, which is also signed by Guido Cimino, Angelo Fontana and Adele Cutignano (Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry, Naples), and other international experts.Chemical strategies to survive on seabedOpisthobranchs are a group of marine invertebrates that constitute a source of marine bioactive products. Scaphander lignarius is a benthic mollusc that belongs to the order Cephalaspidea — the most primitive opisthobranchs — and lives on moody sand bottoms. It is common to find this opisthobranch gastropod, which eats forams, polychaetes and small marine bivalves, in fishing trawlers’ activity. In marine ecophysiology studies, it is a model to study chemical defence strategies — with secondary metabolites — to compensate the loss or reduction of its mechanical protection (shell).Professor Conxita Àvila, who also coordinates Actiquim-II, a research project to study natural marine products in Antarctic ecosystems and determine their potential for use in pharmacological applications, points out that “lignarenones are secondary metabolites which work as potential alarm pheromones in natural ecosystems.” “Secondary metabolites — she adds — are an extremely diverse group of natural compounds synthesized by organisms and molecules involved in ecological interactions among organisms and the environment.”Lignarenones synthesis: a link between bacteria and opisthobranchsOrganisms show a great variety of physiological adaptations to their habitat. The article published on the journal ChemBioChem reveals that this opisthobranch is able to synthetize lignarenones, a biological function that was exclusively associated to prokaryotes until now. Lignarenone biosynthesis revealed a polyketide pathway primed by benzoic acid in the cytoplasm of specialised eukaryotic cells. Besides identifying this biosynthesis route in Scaphander lignarius, the article also shows that polyketide biosynthesis is associated with specialised molluscan cells, Blochmann’s glands, which are distributed in biosynthetic tissue localised in the vulnerable mantle of the mollusc.The research extends scientific knowledge on the role that marine invertebrates play in natural products biosynthesis. “This is the first direct evidence — highlights Conxita Àvila — that confirms the biological ability of this group of marine invertebrates to synthetize this type of natural products. Therefore, this lineage of gastropods is genetically able to produce this type of metabolites, which are useful for their survival.” According to the expert, “this ability is not derived from a symbiotic relationship with bacteria; the biosynthetic process suggests genetic convergence across different kingdoms.”Besides synthetizing lignarenones, Scaphander lignarius shares other ability with prokaryotes. …

For more info: Molluscs vs. bacteria: New finding on marine natural products biosynthesis

ScienceDaily: Ecology News

Molluscs vs. bacteria: New finding on marine natural products biosynthesis

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