Deep-sea hydrothermal vents as a new source of drug discovery

Eric Andrianasolo, Richard Lutz, Paul Falkowski

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Scopus citations


There are potentially thousands of natural compounds that can induce a cell death cascade or arrest cell division, and strategic searches for such molecules have led to drugs discoveries with major clinical applications. Far less than 1 of the extracts of marine organisms have been screened for anticancer activity. Because of the dependence of stationary marine organisms on biochemical defense mechanisms, bioactive marine natural products are plentiful, often structurally unique, with no counterparts in terrestrial organisms. Thus, the oceans represent a rich, but largely untapped, resource for biologically active, anticancer compounds. In this review, we discuss the potential of deep-sea hydrothermal vents as a hot spot for bioactive marine natural products discovery. We then display the main mechanism of apoptosis induction and develop a new strategy for anticancer and drug discovery approach. We develop in detail the first isolation and structural elucidation of metabolites from marine organisms associated with deep-sea hydrothermal vents (the marine hydrothermal vent bacterium, Thermovibrio ammonificans and the deep-sea hydrothermal vent invertebrate mussel, Bathymodiolus thermophilus). We conclude with the uniqueness of metabolites that induce apoptosis such as the Xenia elongata compounds series.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationStudies in Natural Products Chemistry
PublisherElsevier B.V.
Number of pages24
StatePublished - 2012

Publication series

NameStudies in Natural Products Chemistry
ISSN (Print)1572-5995

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Drug Discovery
  • Organic Chemistry


  • Deep-sea hydrothermal vent
  • Drug discovery
  • Induction of apoptosis
  • Invertebrate mussel
  • Marine natural product


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