Butenolide inhibits marine fouling by altering the primary metabolism of three target organisms

Yifan Zhang, Huoming Zhang, Lisheng He, Changdong Liu, Ying Xü, Pei-Yuan Qian

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39 Scopus citations


Butenolide is a very promising antifouling compound that inhibits ship hull fouling by a variety of marine organisms, but its antifouling mechanism was previously unknown. Here we report the first study of butenolides molecular targets in three representative fouling organisms. In the barnacle Balanus (=Amphibalanus) amphitrite, butenolide bound to acetyl-CoA acetyltransferase 1 (ACAT1), which is involved in ketone body metabolism. Both the substrate and the product of ACAT1 increased larval settlement under butenolide treatment, suggesting its functional involvement. In the bryozoan Bugula neritina, butenolide bound to very long chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (ACADVL), actin, and glutathione S-transferases (GSTs). ACADVL is the first enzyme in the very long chain fatty acid β-oxidation pathway. The inhibition of this primary pathway for energy production in larvae by butenolide was supported by the finding that alternative energy sources (acetoacetate and pyruvate) increased larval attachment under butenolide treatment. In marine bacterium Vibrio sp. UST020129-010, butenolide bound to succinyl-CoA synthetase β subunit (SCSβ) and inhibited bacterial growth. ACAT1, ACADVL, and SCSβ are all involved in primary metabolism for energy production. These findings suggest that butenolide inhibits fouling by influencing the primary metabolism of target organisms. © 2012 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1049-1058
Number of pages10
JournalACS Chemical Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Apr 10 2012

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: We thank Y. Zhang and J. Sun for their help in UPLC-MS/MS analysis; S. Dash for her help in Vibrio sp. UST020129-010 bioassays and cultures; Z. F. Chen and H. Wang for their help in RNA extraction, cDNA synthesis, and real-time PCR analysis; Y. H. Wong for his help in bugula sample collection; J. P. Ren, P. Chen, H. S. Wong, and R. Ko for their help in thiolase characterization; and S. Bougouffa, K. Matsumura, A. Wu, and J. R. Wu for their helpful comments on a draft of this manuscript. This study was supported by a grant from China Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development (DY125-15-T-02), a joint research grant from the RGC of the HKSAR and the NSFC of China (N_HKUST602/09), and an award (SA-C0040/UK-C0016) from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology to P. Y. Qian.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine


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