Chemodiversity in freshwater and terrestrial cyanobacteria - a source for drug discovery

Curr Drug Targets. 2011 Oct;12(11):1654-73. doi: 10.2174/138945011798109455.


Cyanobacteria are considered a promising source for new pharmaceutical lead compounds and a large number of chemically diverse and bioactive metabolites have been obtained from cyanobacteria over the last few decades. This review highlights the structural diversity of natural products from freshwater and terrestrial cyanobacteria. The review is divided into three areas: cytotoxic metabolites, protease inhibitors, and antimicrobial metabolites. The first section discusses the potent cytotoxins cryptophycin and tolytoxin. The second section covers protease inhibitors from freshwater and terrestrial cyanobacteria and is divided in five subsections according to structural class: aeruginosins, cyanopeptolins, microviridins, anabaenopeptins, and microginins. Structure activity relationships are discussed within each protease inhibitor class. The third section, antimicrobial metabolites from freshwater and terrestrial cyanobacteria, is divided by chemical class in three subsections: alkaloids, peptides and terpenoids. These examples emphasize the structural diversity and drug development potential of natural products from freshwater and terrestrial cyanobacteria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biodiversity*
  • Cyanobacteria / classification*
  • Fresh Water / microbiology*