facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Sea bacteria may lead to new therapies

Sept. 2, 2009 at 2:49 PM   |   Comments

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- U.S. marine biomedicine scientists say they have discovered a promising ocean-based compound that might yield new ways to fight human disease.

Researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California-San Diego and Creighton University in Omaha say they have deciphered the highly unusual molecular structure of the naturally produced compound that is giving new understanding of the function of mammalian nerve cells.

Scripps scientists collected cyanobacteria - tiny photosynthetic sea organisms -- in Hoia Bay off Papua, New Guinea, in 2002 and recently discovered the bacteria produce a compound with a structure previously unseen in biomedicine.

The researchers said the compound, which they've named hoiamide A, offers a novel template for drug development.

"We have seen some of hoiamide A's features in other molecules, but separately," said Alban Pereira, a Scripps postdoctoral researcher. "We believe this new template may be important because it's showing different mechanisms of action -- different ways to interact with neurons, possibly with a good therapeutic effect for such diseases as epilepsy, hypoxia-ischemia and several neurodegenerative disorders."

The study, that also included Zhengyu Cao of Creighton University and was led by Scripps Professor William Gerwick and Creighton Professor Thomas Murray, was reported in the Aug. 27 online version of the journal Chemistry & Biology.

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
SpaceX Dragon returns safely from ISS, splashes into Pacfic Ocean SpaceX Dragon returns safely from ISS, splashes into Pacfic Ocean
2
Google exec breaks skydive record with dive from near-space Google exec breaks skydive record with dive from near-space
3
Powerful new microscope sees cell division in real time Powerful new microscope sees cell division in real time
4
Stone tools reveal Ice Age settlement in the Andes Stone tools reveal Ice Age settlement in the Andes
5
Coal-rich Poland wants concessions in EU climate deal Coal-rich Poland wants concessions in EU climate deal
Trending News
Around the Web
x
Feedback