Aquatic microbes produce diverse secondary metabolites with interesting biological activities. Cytotoxic metabolites have the potential to become lead compounds or drugs for cancer treatment. Many cytotoxic compounds, however, show undesirable toxicity at higher concentrations. Such undesirable activity may be reduced or eliminated by using lower doses of the cytotoxic compound in combination with another compound that modulates its activity. Here, we have examined the cytotoxicity of four microbial metabolites [ethyl N-(2-phenethyl) carbamate (NP-1), Euglenophycin, Anabaenopeptin, and Glycolipid 652] using three in vitro cell lines [human breast cancer cells (MCF-7), mouse neuroblastoma cells (N2a), and rat pituitary epithelial cells (GH4C1)]. The compounds showed variable cytotoxicity, with Euglenophycin displaying specificity for N2a cells. We have also examined the modulatory power of NP-1 on the cytotoxicity of the other three compounds and found that at a permissible concentration (125 mu g/mL), NP-1 sensitized N2a and MCF-7 cells to Euglenophycin and Glycolipid 652 induced cytotoxicity.
Augmenting Anti-Cancer Natural Products with a Small Molecule Adjuvant