Marine algae are known to produce a range of natural products. These molecules fulfill ecological functions that include protection against pathogenic bacteria, fungi, and herbivores. Our lab is interested on exploring the chemical defense of marine algae including the mechanisms involved. We have uncovered that numerous algae especially red algae contain antimicrobial natural products and that some of these molecules such as bromophycolides are deployed on the surfaces of the red algae heterogeneously in patches where they protect the alga from fungal and bacterial pathogens. Another example is peyssonnoside A which was isolated in high concentrations from the calcified marine red alga Peyssonnelia sp. Peyssonnoside A is a potent inhibitor of marine saprophytic fungus Dendryphiella salina and was detected on the surfaces of the alga, alluding to a surface mediated defense against pathogens.  

Related Publications

Chhetri BK, Lavoie S, Sweeney-Jones AM, Mojib N, Raghavan V, Gagaring K, Dale B, McNamara CW, Soapi K, Quave CL, Polavarapu PL, Kubanek J (2019) Peyssonnosides A-B, unusual diterpene glycosides with a sterically encumbered cyclopropane motif: structure elucidation using an integrated spectroscopic and computational workflow. The Journal of Organic Chemistry. 84(13):8531-8541. DOI: 10.1021/acs.joc.9b00884

Lane AL, Nyadong L, Galhena A, Shearer TL, Stout EP, Parry RM, Kwasnik M, Wang MD, Hay ME, Fernandez F, Kubanek J (2009) Desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry reveals surface­ mediated antifungal chemical defense of a tropical seaweed. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 106:7314­-7319. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0812020106

Nyadong L, Hohenstein EG, Galhena A, Lane AL, Kubanek J, Sherrill CD, Fernandez F (2009) Reactive desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (DESI MS) of natural products of a marine alga. Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry. 394:245-­254. DOI: 10.1007/s00216-009-2674-3