Ascidians (tunicates; sea squirts) are sources of diverse, bioactive natural products, one of which is an approved drug and many of which are potent drug leads. It has been shown that symbiotic bacteria living with ascidians produce some of the bioactive compounds isolated from whole animals, and indirect evidence strongly implicates symbiotic bacteria in the synthesis of many others. However, for the majority the producing organism has not been identified. In cases where a symbiotic origin has been definitively assigned, the resulting data lead to improved paths to drug discovery and development from marine animals. This review traces evidence for symbiotic production where such evidence exists and describes the strengths and limitations of that evidence.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering