Unusual antimicrotubule activity of the antifungal agent spongistatin 1

Yulia Y. Ovechkina, Robin Pettit, Zbigniew Cichacz, George Pettit, Berl R. Oakley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Spongistatin 1, a macrocyclic lactone from the marine sponge Hyrtios erecta, has broad-spectrum antifungal activity. Since this compound is a potent antimicrotubule agent in mammalian cells, we examined its effects on the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans to determine if its antifungal effects are due to antimicrotubule activity. At 25 μg/ml (twice the MIC), spongistatin 1 caused a greater-than-twofold elevation of the chromosome and spindle mitotic indices. Immunofluorescence microscopy revealed that mitotic spindles were smaller and shorter than in control germlings. However, late- anaphase and telophase nuclei were seen occasionally, and this suggests that the spindles are capable of segregating chromosomes. Spongistatin 1 had more dramatic effects on cytoplasmic microtubules. At 30 min after initiation of treatment, 83% of germlings contained fragmented microtubules and after 2 h of treatment, microtubules had disappeared completely from 82% of germlings. In contrast, microtubules disappeared rapidly and completely from germlings treated with benomyl. We conclude that spongistatin 1 has antimicrotubule activity in A. nidulans and that its mechanism of action may involve a novel microtubule-severing activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1993-1999
Number of pages7
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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