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Extramural Research

Grantee Research Project Results

Grantee Research Project Results

Eleutherobin, a New Marine Anticancer Agent: Elucidation of the Biosynthesis and Purification of a Key Biosynthetic Enzyme

EPA Grant Number: U916184
Title: Eleutherobin, a New Marine Anticancer Agent: Elucidation of the Biosynthesis and Purification of a Key Biosynthetic Enzyme
Investigators: Frenz, Jamie L.
Institution: Florida Atlantic University - Boca Raton
EPA Project Officer: Boddie, Georgette
Project Period: January 1, 2003 through January 1, 2006
Project Amount: $91,201
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2003)
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Biology/Life Sciences , Fellowship - Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Development Biology, and Genetics



The objective of this research project is to determine the biosynthetic origin of eleutherobin and a key enzyme involved in its formation.


The marine environment has proven to be a prolific source of compounds with promising therapeutic activity. Eleutherobin is a natural product produced by the Caribbean soft coral Erythropodium caribaeorum. Eleutherobin is an extremely potent anticancer agent that works by polymerizing and stabilizing microtubules. This diterpene glycoside has a cytotoxicity similar to that of paclitaxel (Taxol®), and also is active against Taxol®-resistant cell lines. However, this compound is produced in trace quantities, and it cannot be obtained in sufficient amounts for the market's demands. Therefore, a production method of this anticancer agent must be developed, which will eliminate the collection from coral reefs. A radioactivity-guided isolation procedure will be used to determine the intermediates involved in the biosynthesis and to serve as an assay for purification of the enzyme. This research project is the beginning stages for a biotechnological production method of this potent anticancer agent.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, anticancer agent, eleutherobin, biosynthesis, enzyme purification, Erythropodium caribaeorum, coral reefs.

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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