Screening of new antileukemic agents from essential oils of algae extracts and computational modeling of their interactions with intracellular signaling nodes

Eur J Pharm Sci. 2016 Feb 15;83:120-31. doi: 10.1016/j.ejps.2015.12.001. Epub 2015 Dec 18.


Microalgae are very rich in bioactive compounds, minerals, polysaccharides, poly-unsaturated fatty acids and vitamins, and these rich constituents make microalgae an important resource for the discovery of new bioactive compounds with applications in biotechnology. In this study, we studied the antileukemic activity of several chosen microalgae species at the molecular level and assessed their potential for drug development. Here we identified Stichococcus bacillaris, Phaeodactylum tricornutum, Microcystis aeruginosa and Nannochloropsis oculata microalgae extracts with possible antileukemic agent potentials. Specifically we studied the effects of these extracts on intracellular signal nodes and apoptotic pathways. We characterized the composition of essential oils of these fifteen different algae extracts using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Finally, to identify potential molecular targets causing the phenotypic changes in leukemic cell lines, we docked a selected group of these essential oils to several key intracellular proteins. According to results of rank score algorithm, five of these essential oils analyzed might be considered as in silico plausible candidates to be used as antileukemic agents.

Keywords: Algae; Essential oils; GC–MS; Leukemia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • DNA Fragmentation
  • Humans
  • Leukemia
  • Microalgae*
  • Models, Biological
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Protein Binding


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Extracts