In Situ natural product discovery via an artificial marine sponge

James J. La Clair, Steven T. Loveridge, Karen Tenney, Mark O'Neil-Johnson, Eli Chapman, Phillip Crews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


There is continuing international interest in exploring and developing the therapeutic potential of marine-derived small molecules. Balancing the strategies for ocean based sampling of source organisms versus the potential to endanger fragile ecosystems poses a substantial challenge. In order to mitigate such environmental impacts, we have developed a deployable artificial sponge. This report provides details on its design followed by evidence that it faithfully recapitulates traditional natural product collection protocols. Retrieving this artificial sponge from a tropical ecosystem after deployment for 320 hours afforded three actin-targeting jasplakinolide depsipeptides that had been discovered two decades earlier using traditional sponge specimen collection and isolation procedures. The successful outcome achieved here could reinvigorate marine natural products research, by producing new environmentally innocuous sources of natural products and providing a means to probe the true biosynthetic origins of complex marine-derived scaffolds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere100474
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 8 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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