AME 31:77-83 (2003)  -  doi:10.3354/ame031077

Antibacterial activity of the sponge Suberites domuncula and its primmorphs: potential basis for epibacterial chemical defense

Narsinh L. Thakur1,2, Ute Hentschel3, Anatoli Krasko1, Christian T. Pabel3, Arga C. Anil2, Werner E. G. Müller1,*

1Institut für Physiologische Chemie, Abteilung Angewandte Molekularbiologie, Universität Mainz, Duesbergweg 6, 55099 Mainz, Germany
2Marine Corrosion & Materials Research Division, National Institute of Oceanography, Dona Paula, 403 004 Goa, India
3Institut für Molekulare Infektionsbiologie, Universität Würzburg, Röntgenring 11, 97070 Würzburg, Germany
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: The epibacterial chemical defense of the marine sponge Suberites domuncula was explored by screening sponge extract, sponge primmorph (3-D aggregates containing proliferating cells) extract and sponge-associated as well as primmorph-associated bacteria for antibacterial activity. 16S rDNA sequencing revealed that the antimicrobially active bacteria belonged to the a- and γ-subdivisions of Proteobacteria ( α-Proteobacterium MBIC 3368, Idiomarina sp. and Pseudomonas sp., respectively). Moreover, a recombinant perforin-like protein was cloned from S. domuncula that displayed strong antibacterial activity. Based on these observations, it is proposed that the sponge may be provided with a direct (by producing antibacterial metabolites) as well as an indirect (with the help of associated bacteria) epibacterial defense.


KEY WORDS: Sponges · Primmorphs · Chemical defense · Antibacterial · Perforin-like protein


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