3D Marine Sponge Cells Can Increase Production of Pharmaceutical Compounds

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There are more than 9,000 species of sea sponges (Phylum Porifera) worldwide, which are a source of new natural products. They contain promising chemical agents that may be useful in fighting cancer, COVID-19 and antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus bacteria. These chemicals interact with molecules that have been conserved throughout evolutionary history and are involved in human disease processes, for example, the cell cycle, immune and inflammatory responses, and calcium and sodium regulation.

Unfortunately, many of the pharmaceutically relevant sponges are only found in trace amounts within the source sponges, and it is neither economically nor ecologically feasible to harvest enough biomass from wild sponges to provide the quantities needed for clinical drug development and manufacture.

Researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution have come up with a viable solution. They previously made a groundbreaking discovery of marine biotechnology by creating a marine invertebrate (sponge) cell culture using an improved nutrient medium for the development of spongy and rapidly dividing cell lines. Prior to this discovery, marine invertebrate cell lineages did not exist.

Now, for the first time, FAU Harbor Branch scientists have taken this cutting-edge research to a new level by successfully culturing sponge cells in 3D. Cells in 2D culture exhibit different biological and physiological properties and their interactions and functions, which play a major role in these properties, are limited in 2D culture. The new 3D method better represents how sponge cells function in nature and will help increase the production of sponge biomass and bioactive metabolites.

The marine sponge Geodia neptuni, found in the Caribbean, was selected for this study to validate the concept of 3D culture methods. The researchers evaluated sponge cells grown on three 3D substrates: FibraCel discs, thin hydrogel layers, and small gel droplets, with the goal of applying one or more of these methods to scale production.

The results are published in the journal Marine Medicines, that nutrients and sponge products diffuse rapidly in and out of the 3D matrix and that gel micro-droplets can be increased in spin flasks; And cells and/or secreted products can be easily recovered. FAU Harbor Branch scientists continue their research on expansion and production in the lab.






Shirley Pomponi, PhD, research professor at FAU Harbor Branch and former executive director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Collaborative Institute for Ocean Exploration, Research and Technology. “Due to their cellular organization, sponges can be separated into cells that assemble and differentiate to form a functional sponge. Moreover, cell culture allows us to precisely control environmental variables and to select or optimize conditions that favor increased production of biomass and/or bioactive metabolites.”

Although sea aquaculture of whole sponges or “explants” (fragments) has been successful in a limited number of species, the inability to control environmental conditions such as extreme weather events and harmful algal blooms makes sea aquaculture a less biological option Approval.

“Cultivating sea sponge cells presents some unique challenges, for example, sea sponges require high salinity, which can prevent the hydrogels in which we grow the cells from properly solidifying,” Bomboni said. “In addition, many hydrogels require processing periods at high temperatures that are lethal to sponge cells.”

For years, scientists at FAU Harbor Branch have been collecting unusual marine creatures–many from deep-water habitats. The majority of specimens come primarily from throughout the Atlantic and the Caribbean; Others came from the Galapagos Islands, the western Pacific, the Mediterranean, the Indo-Pacific, western Africa, and the Bering Sea.

Bomboni and her team have created a biobank of cryopreserved cells from more than 200 individual sponges, representing more than 50 species, 26 families, 15 orders, and two classes of shallow and deep water sponges. This is the first biobank of living marine invertebrate cells. It is used to support ongoing research in the development of sponge-derived drugs, as well as habitat restoration and other biotechnology applications.

“We are conducting research to extend these 3D approaches to increase their utility in the production of sponge-derived chemicals with human health applications,” Pomponi said.

Study co-authors are first author Elizabeth Urban-Jedamke, research technician; Megan Conkling, Ph.D. Student and laboratory research coordinator. Peter C. McCarthy, PhD, associate director of education and research professor; and Paul S. Wells, Ph.D., associate director of research and research professor, all at FAU Harbor Branch.


Scientists first developed rapid cell division in sea sponges


more information:
Elizabeth Urban-Gedamke et al, 3D Culture of Marine Sponge Cells for Production of Bioactive Compounds, Marine Medicines (2021). DOI: 10.3390 / md19100569

Presented by Florida Atlantic University

the quote: 3D Marine Sponge Cells Can Increase Production of Pharmaceutical Compounds (2022, January 20) Retrieved January 21, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-01-marine-sponge-cells-3d-ramp. html

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