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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Novel secondary metabolites from selected cold water marine invertebrates Williams, David Ellis


A study of the secondary metabolism of two nudibranchs and one soft coral has led to the isolation of eighteen new and two known secondary metabolites. The structures of all compounds were determined by a combination of the interpretation of spectral data, chemical degradations and interconversions, and single crystal x-ray diffraction analysis. The British Columbian dorid nudibranch Diaulula sandiegensis yielded two new steroidal metabolites, diaulusterols A (41) and B (42). The 25-(3-hydroxybutanoate) residue of diaulusterol A (41) and the 2α,3α-diol array of both 41 and 42 are not commonly encountered in naturally occurring steroids. Both metabolites exhibited considerable antibacterial and antifungal activity. Steroid 41 exhibited fish antifeedant activity. The relative concentration of 4.1 and 42 in the skin extracts of D. sandiegensis appears to be related to the animals' seasonal abundance. Extracts of the British Columbian soft coral Gersemia rubiformis yielded a series of ten diterpenes possessing cembrane (170-175), pseudopterane (167-169) and gersolane (176) carbon skeletons. The structure of an eleventh diterpene remains unresolved. In addition, the structure of a degraded diterpene possessing a 13-membered ring (177) is tentatively proposed. G. rubiformis represents the first example of a soft coral to yield pseudopterane diterpenes. The organism is the first to contain cembrane, pseudopterane and gersolane metabolites, a fact which has biogenetic implications. Two new sesquiterpenes were also isolated. Tochuinyl acetate (165) and dihydrotochuinyl acetate (166) represent the first examples of cuparane sesquiterpenes to be isolated from a soft coral. A biogenesis is proposed. Metabolite 166 exhibited fish antifeedant activity. Investigations of Gersemia rubiformis collected in Newfoundland waters revealed that the secondary metabolism differed from west coast specimens. The isolation of the new unstable sesquiterpene (+)-β-cubebene-3-acetate (178) resulted. Skin extracts of the dendronotoid nudibranch Toquina tetraquetra were examined in an attempt to correlate its feeding dependency and lack of predation to the presence of allomones. Metabolites 165, 166, 170, 179 and the new butanoate diterpene 180 could be traced to the coelenterates which make up the animal's diet. Tochuinyl acetate (165), dihydrotochuinyl acetate (166) and rubifolide (170) were previously found in extracts of Gersemia rubiformis. Ptilosarcenone (179) has been reported as one of the major metabolites of the sea pen Ptilosarcus gurneyi²¹³. The exact origin of a sixth metabolite, pukalide (63), remains unknown. It is proposed that Tochuina tetraquetra selectively sequesters dietary metabolites for defensive purposes.

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