Cellular slime molds are thought to be excellent model organisms for the study of cell and developmental biology because of their simple pattern of development. However, there have been few reports on secondary metabolites of them. We have focused on the utility of cellular slime molds as novel resources for natural product chemistry, and have studied the diversity of secondary metabolites produced by them as well as their physiological and pharmacological activities. We have recently isolated many novel compounds from the fruiting bodies of various species of Dictyostelium cellular slime molds. Total syntheses and biological evaluation of these compounds have been carried out. It was shown that dictyopyrones and dictyomedins may regulate Dictyostelium development. Amino sugar derivatives such as furanodictines and dictyoglucosamines induced neuronal differentiation of rat PC-12 cells. In addition, brefelamide inhibited the cellular proliferation of 1321N1 human astrocytoma cells. These results show that cellular slime molds are promising sources in natural product chemistry.
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