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Microbial and secondary metabolite diversity in marine sponges

  • 1 December, 2014
  • Wageningen University, Microbiology
  • prof. dr H Smidtdr ir D Sipkema
  • dr P Lisdiyanti

Sponges are an important component in coral reef ecosystems, and they are known as the richest source of new natural products, some of which are pharmaceutically significant. Large gene clusters encode the necessary proteins involved in the biosynthesis pathway of many sponge bioactive compounds such as polyketide synthases (PKS) and and non-ribosomal peptide synthases (NRPS). Interestingly, sponge microbial symbionts are suspected to be responsible for the production of the majority of bioactive compounds. Therefore, a comprehensive understanding of the biosynthesis gene clusters that are involved in the production of bioactive compound is important, as well as the ability to isolate the microbial producer. This will allow exploitation of the microbial treasure chest for biotechnological applications as well as to better understand the role of such bioactive compounds in the microbial interactive networks within sponge ecosystems.
Its location within the World Coral Triangle makes Indonesia one of the most important biological resources in the world. The position implies that Indonesia has a high potential for the discovery of new marine natural compounds along with their potential for biomedical applications. Therefore, in this research we propose to investigate marine sponges from Indonesia, particularly the sponges from Lembeh Strait, Bitung, North Sulawesi. We will explore the diversity of spongeassociated microorganisms and investigate the biosynthetic gene clusters that are responsible for the biosynthesis of sponge natural compounds. The results obtained during this research will SENSE PhD application form; version September 2014 contribute to the field of sponge microbiology and open the possibilities to discover new compounds with pharmaceutical potential.

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Atikana Akhirta Atikana

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