The cyanobacteria species that produces gatorbulin-1, tentatively identified as Lyngbya confervoides , forms these reddish-green, hair-like structures which are a collection of connected single cells rather than a true multicellular organism. (Raphael Ritson-Williams) Blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, are some of the oldest organisms on Earth, appearing in the fossil record over 3.5 billion years ago. But there is more to these photosynthetic bacteria than their long history. One species produces a chemical compound that shows potential for further research as a novel chemotherapy drug. New research in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences explains how the compound, gatorbulin-1 (GB1), from a cyanobacteria species in south Florida, may have significant anti-cancer activity. This discovery by scientists at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and University of Florida (UF) shows how studying marine biodiversity can enhance biomedical research. Gatorbulin-1’s name pays tribute to the UF researchers and global partners who led the way to its discovery and characterization. “The ocean is relatively unexplored . It is where most of our biological and chemical diversity is undiscovered,” said Dr. Hendrik Luesch , a medicinal chemist, director of the Center for Natural Products, Drug Discovery and Development at the […]

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