Bacterial Production of the Tunicate-Derived Antitumor Cyclic Depsipeptide Didemnin B

Natural products obtained from marine invertebrates such as sponges and tunicates are attractive sources of drugs. However, a critical obstacle in the development of these compounds is the problem of supply. In most cases, neither chemical synthesis nor mariculture of invertebrates is economically feasible. Due to structural similarities, many marine natural products are suspected to be produced by associated microorganisms. A favorable strategy for the production of such compounds is to use culturable microorganisms. Here we report that didemnin B, a tunicate-derived depsipeptide, has been isolated from a culturable bacterium, Tistrella mobilis YIT 12409.