The research proposal concerns the biological aspects of a -so far largely - chemical field of study, i.e. natural products from sponges and their application for biomedical and industrial purposes. A cooperation of taxonomists, bioorganic chemists, ecologists and cell biologistis formed to address the biological aspects of the occurrence, cecllular origin and ecological function of selected natural products from sponge Research will be focussed on partly known and partly predicted occurrence of secondary metabolites of a monophyletic group of marine sponges.
Aspects studied include:
- biological activity of various extracts and structure of secondary metabolites found in purified fractions,
- in situ production of these secondary metabolites under various environmental conditions (depth, temperature, latitude, predation intensity and substrate competition)
- secondary metabolites and molecule types as chemotaxonomic markers - within-sponge spatial distribution of sponge cells and microsymbionts under various environmental conditions
- identification of microsymbionts
- isolation and culture of sponge cells.
Together these aspects will allow conclusions concerning (I) the biological significance of sponge secondary metabolites for the producing organism and the environment interacting with it, (2) the causes o observed variation in occurrence and quantities of sponge secondary metabolites, and (3) the recognition of microsymbiont vs. sponge cell involvement in the production of promising secondary metabolites.
These conclusions will have a direct bearing on policy decisions concerning industrial production of sponge natural products which are too difficult or costly to synthesize. A major deliverable of the proposed research will be the formulation of a standard protocol of research steps needed as a basis for such policy decisions.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
1098 SM Amsterdam