Microtubule-stabilizing agents based on designed laulimalide analogues

Susan L. Mooberry, Deborah A. Randall-Hlubek, Rachel M. Leal, Sayee G. Hegde, Robert D. Hubbard, Lei Zhang, Paul A. Wender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Laulimalide is a potent, structurally unique microtubule-stabilizing agent originally isolated from the marine sponge Cacospongia mycofijiensis. Laulimalide exhibits an activity profile different from other microtubule-binding agents, notably including effectiveness against paclitaxel-resistant cells, but it is intrinsically unstable. Five analogues of laulimalide were designed to exhibit enhanced chemical stability yet retain its exceptional biological activities. Evaluations of these analogues showed that all are effective inhibitors of cancer-cell proliferation yet differ substantially in potency with an IC50 range of 0.12-16.5 μM. Although all of the analogues initiated cellular changes similar to laulimalide, including increased density of interphase microtubules, aberrant mitotic spindles, and ultimately apoptosis, differences among the analogues were apparent. The two most potent analogues, C16-C 17-des-epoxy laulimalide and C20-methoxy laulimalide, appear to have a mechanism of action identical to laulimalide. The C 16-C17-des-epoxy, C20-methoxy laulimalide derivative, which incorporates both chemical changes of the most potent analogues, was significantly less potent and initiated the formation of unique interphase microtubules unlike the parent compound and other analogues. Two C2-C3-alkynoate derivatives had lower potency, and they initiated abnormal microtubule structures but did not cause micronucleation or extensive G2/M accumulation. Significantly, paclitaxel- and epothilone-resistant cell lines were less resistant to the laulimalide analogues. In summary, analogues of laulimalide designed to minimize or eliminate its intrinsic instability have been synthesized, and some have been found to retain the unique biological activities of laulimalide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8803-8808
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number23
StatePublished - Jun 8 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Antimitotics
  • Synthetic chemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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