Identifying bryostatins and potential precursors from the bryozoan Bugula neritina

Thomas J. Manning, Michael Land, Emily Rhodes, Linda Chamberlin, Jack Rudloe, Dennis Phillips, Tukiet T. Lam, Jeremiah Purcell, Helen J. Cooper, Mark R. Emmett, Alan G. Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The bryozoan species Bugula neritina contains the anticancer agent bryostatin. Bryostatin has been extracted from these sessile marine invertebrates since the late 1960s from the Gulf of California, Gulf of Mexico, as well as various locations on the eastern and western rims of the Pacific Ocean. In this work we are focusing on animals harvested in the Gulf of Mexico near Alligator Point (Florida). Using Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) we measure the concentration of 70 elements in B. neritina, a sea squirt, and the sediment from the point of harvesting. This data has helped us generate an extraction process for marine natural products. Combining UV/VIS absorbance measurements with Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization-Time of Flight-Mass Spectrometer (MALDI-TOF-MS), we demonstrated that the specific form of bryostatin extracted is a function of the solvent. A 9.4T Fourier Transform-Ion Cyclotron Resonance (FT-ICR) mass spectrometer, whose sensitivity, mass accuracy, and resolving power allowed the exact empirical formulas of potential precursors of bryostatin to be identified, was employed. Finally we examine extracts of 14 marine species of the Gulf of Mexico, from the sand trout (Cynoscion arenarius) to chicken liver sponge (Chrondrilla nucula), all recently collected, which had shown some medicinal activity thirty years ago in a National Cancer Institute study. By the MALDI-TOF-MS, we were able to identify mass spectral features that correspond to different variations of the basic bryostatin structure, which raises the question if the bryozoans are the original source of bryostatin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-491
Number of pages25
JournalNatural Product Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • B. neritina
  • Bryostatin
  • Gulf of Mexico

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Plant Science
  • Organic Chemistry


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