An extensive library of goods received from more than ten thousand fungi could help us find new drugs. The investigators from the group of Jeroen den Hertog at the Hubrecht Institute, in collaboration with the researchers from the Westerdijk Institute and Utrecht University, have set up the library mentioned above and screened it for biologically existing composites.
They examined the natural movement of these fungal products first using zebrafish eggs. The investigators have chosen to apply zebrafish embryos, because it provides the analysis of results on various cell types at the same time, in a working body, and because zebrafish are physiologically quite related to humans.
They have previously found several known compounds, among which the cholesterol-lowering medication lovastatin. The library of fungal products gives a sufficient chance to examine the new medicines.
The results of this investigation were declared on the 26th of November in the experimental journal Scientific Reports.
We continuously require new healing compounds in the hospital for several reasons, including our growing age, with corresponding diseases, and protection to existing medications. Fungi are fabulous, but the underexplored source of these kinds of compounds, such as lovastatin, a mixture created by the fungus Aspergillus terreus, and that is used as a cholesterol-lowering drug.
Jelmer Hoeksma, one of the researchers at the Hubrecht Institute, reveals: “Every year new composites produced by fungi are recognized, but so far we have only examined a minimal subset of all current fungi. It implies that many more biologically determined compounds persist in being determined.”
The Fungi Case
The cooperation with the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute, home to the most comprehensive collection of live fungi in the world, enabled the researchers to set up an extensive library of filtrates derived from more than ten thousand various fungi. A filtrate includes all the products that the fungus secretes.
To seek for therapeutic infusions, the investigators investigated the effects of this extensive library of fungal products first on zebrafish embryos. The zebrafish embryos allowed the researchers to examine the impact on the whole body during expansion. Zebrafish are vertebrates that are physiologically very related to humans and are usually used to test drugs for a type of disorder.
Within a few days, these embryos receive most of their organs, making the biological activity of the fungal composites readily detectable. Furthermore, comparison to known medications may result in the description of new medicines and also point towards the underlying tools of action of these composites.
The Research Investigation
The investigators found 1526 filtrates that contain biologically active compounds with an impact on zebrafish embryos, from which they selected 150 filtrates for further investigation. From there, they divided 34 known compounds, involving the cholesterol-lowering medication lovastatin, which was designed by the fungus Resinicium furfuraceous.
Until now, it was unknown that this fungus produces lovastatin. Furthermore, the investigators have discovered filtrates that influence pigmentation on zebrafish embryos. Other examinations have shown that circumstances involved in pigmentation can also play a crucial role in the development of skin cancer. The study is currently confining the active compounds that cause pigmentation defects in zebrafish embryos from the filtrates.
To Sum Up
This research underlines the large variety of biologically active composites that are constructed by fungi and the importance of further studying these compounds in the research for new medicines.