Metabolomic tools for secondary metabolite discovery from marine microbial symbionts

Lynsey Macintyre, Tong Zhang, Christina Viegelmann, Ignacio Juarez Martinez, Cheng Cheng, Catherine Dowdells, Usama Ramadan Abdelmohsen, Christine Gernert, Ute Hentschel, Ru Angelie Edrada-Ebel

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Marine invertebrate-associated symbiotic bacteria produce a plethora of novel secondary metabolites which may be structurally unique with interesting pharmacological properties. Selection of strains usually relies on literature searching, genetic screening and bioactivity results, often without considering the chemical novelty and abundance of secondary metabolites being produced by the microorganism until the time-consuming bioassay-guided isolation stages. To fast track the selection process, metabolomic tools were used to aid strain selection by investigating differences in the chemical profiles of 77 bacterial extracts isolated from cold water marine invertebrates from Orkney, Scotland using liquid chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Following mass spectrometric analysis and dereplication using an Excel macro developed in-house, principal component analysis (PCA) was employed to differentiate the bacterial strains based on their chemical profiles. NMR 1H and correlation spectroscopy (COSY) were also employed to obtain a chemical fingerprint of each bacterial strain and to confirm the presence of functional groups and spin systems. These results were then combined with taxonomic identification and bioassay screening data to identify three bacterial strains, namely Bacillus sp. 4117, Rhodococcus sp. ZS402 and Vibrio splendidus strain LGP32, to prioritize for scale-up based on their chemically interesting secondary metabolomes, established through dereplication and interesting bioactivities, determined from bioassay screening.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3416-3448
Number of pages33
JournalMarine Drugs
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2014


  • metabolomics
  • dereplication
  • symbiotic bacteria
  • mass spectrometry
  • NMR
  • multivariate analysis
  • metabolic profiling


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