Mini-review: Molecular mechanisms of antifouling compounds

Pei-Yuan Qian, Lianguo Chen, Ying Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


Various antifouling (AF) coatings have been developed to protect submerged surfaces by deterring the settlement of the colonizing stages of fouling organisms. A review of the literature shows that effective AF compounds with specific targets are ones often considered non-toxic. Such compounds act variously on ion channels, quorum sensing systems, neurotransmitters, production/release of adhesive, and specific enzymes that regulate energy production or primary metabolism. In contrast, AF compounds with general targets may or may not act through toxic mechanisms. These compounds affect a variety of biological activities including algal photosynthesis, energy production, stress responses, genotoxic damage, immunosuppressed protein expression, oxidation, neurotransmission, surface chemistry, the formation of biofilms, and adhesive production/release. Among all the targets, adhesive production/release is the most common, possibly due to a more extensive research effort in this area. Overall, the specific molecular targets and the molecular mechanisms of most AF compounds have not been identified. Thus, the information available is insufficient to draw firm conclusions about the types of molecular targets to be used as sensitive biomarkers for future design and screening of compounds with AF potential. In this review, the relevant advantages and disadvantages of the molecular tools available for studying the molecular targets of AF compounds are highlighted briefly and the molecular mechanisms of the AF compounds, which are largely a source of speculation in the literature, are discussed. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-400
Number of pages20
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): SA-C0040, UK-C0016
Acknowledgements: The authors would like to thank the three reviewers and the editor for their constructive comments on the MS. This study was supported by a grant from China Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development (DY125-15-T-02), and an award (SA-C0040/UK-C0016) from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology to P-Y Qian.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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