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1.  Eunicellin-Based Diterpenoids, Hirsutalins N–R, from the Formosan Soft Coral Cladiella hirsuta 
Marine Drugs  2014;12(5):2446-2457.
New eunicellin-type hirsutalins N–R (1–5), along with two known eunicellins, (6 and 7) were isolated from the soft coral Cladiella hirsuta. The structures of the metabolites were determined by extensive spectroscopic analysis. Cytotoxic activity of compounds 1–7 against the proliferation of a limited panel of cancer cell lines was measured. The in vitro anti-inflammatory activity of compounds 1–7 was evaluated by measuring their ability in suppressing superoxide anion generation and elastase release in fMLP/CB-induced human neutrophils.
PMCID: PMC4052299  PMID: 24796303
soft coral; Cladiellahirsuta; eunicellins: cytotoxic activity; anti-inflammatory activity
2.  Can resistant coral-Symbiodinium associations enable coral communities to survive climate change? A study of a site exposed to long-term hot water input 
PeerJ  2014;2:e327.
Climate change has led to a decline in the health of corals and coral reefs around the world. Studies have shown that, while some corals can cope with natural and anthropogenic stressors either through resistance mechanisms of coral hosts or through sustainable relationships with Symbiodinium clades or types, many coral species cannot. Here, we show that the corals present in a reef in southern Taiwan, and exposed to long-term elevated seawater temperatures due to the presence of a nuclear power plant outlet (NPP OL), are unique in terms of species and associated Symbiodinium types. At shallow depths (<3 m), eleven coral genera elsewhere in Kenting predominantly found with Symbiodinium types C1 and C3 (stress sensitive) were instead hosting Symbiodinium type D1a (stress tolerant) or a mixture of Symbiodinium type C1/C3/C21a/C15 and Symbiodinium type D1a. Of the 16 coral genera that dominate the local reefs, two that are apparently unable to associate with Symbiodinium type D1a are not present at NPP OL at depths of <3 m. Two other genera present at NPP OL and other locations host a specific type of Symbiodinium type C15. These data imply that coral assemblages may have the capacity to maintain their presence at the generic level against long-term disturbances such as elevated seawater temperatures by acclimatization through successful association with a stress-tolerant Symbiodinium over time. However, at the community level it comes at the cost of some coral genera being lost, suggesting that species unable to associate with a stress-tolerant Symbiodinium are likely to become extinct locally and unfavorable shifts in coral communities are likely to occur under the impact of climate change.
PMCID: PMC3994648  PMID: 24765567
Climate change; Coral reefs; Acclimatization; Nuclear power plant; Symbiodinium type D1a
3.  Bioactive Cembranoids, Sarcocrassocolides P–R, from the Dongsha Atoll Soft Coral Sarcophyton crassocaule 
Marine Drugs  2014;12(2):840-850.
New cembranoids, sarcocrassocolides P–R (1–3) and four known compounds (4–7) were isolated from the soft coral Sarcophyton crassocaule. The structures of the metabolites were determined by extensive spectroscopic analysis. Compounds 3–5 and 7 were shown to exhibit cytotoxicity toward a limited panel of cancer cell lines and all compounds 1–7 displayed potent in vitro anti-inflammatory activity in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated RAW264.7 macrophage cells by inhibiting the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) protein. Compound 7 also showed significant activity in reducing the accumulation of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) protein in the same macrophage cells.
PMCID: PMC3944518  PMID: 24477285
soft coral; Sarcophyton crassocaule; cytotoxic activity; anti-inflammatory activity
4.  Discovery of Novel Diterpenoids from Sinularia arborea 
Marine Drugs  2014;12(1):385-393.
Two novel diterpenoids, sinularbols A (1) and B (2), which were found to possess a new carbon skeleton were isolated from the soft coral Sinularia arborea. The structures of compounds 1 and 2 were elucidated by spectroscopic methods and 2 displayed a moderately inhibitory effect on the generation of superoxide anion by human neutrophils.
PMCID: PMC3917279  PMID: 24445307
sinularbol; sinularborane; diterpenoid; Sinularia arborea; superoxide anion
5.  Secondary Metabolites from the Soft Coral Sinularia arborea 
Marine Drugs  2013;11(9):3372-3380.
Two new 13-hydroxycembrane diterpenoids, arbolides A (1) and B (2), along with a known trihydroxysteroid, crassarosterol A (3), were isolated from the soft coral Sinularia arborea. The structures of new cembranes 1 and 2 were elucidated by spectroscopic methods. Steroid 3 was found to exhibit cytotoxicity toward K562 and MOLT-4 leukemia.
PMCID: PMC3801123  PMID: 24005902
cembrane; Sinularia arborea; arbolide; crassarosterol; cytotoxicity
6.  Cytotoxic and Anti-Inflammatory Metabolites from the Soft Coral Scleronephthya gracillimum 
Marine Drugs  2013;11(6):1853-1865.
Five new pregnane-type steroids, sclerosteroids J–N (1–5), and a diterpenoid with a new chemotype 3-methyl-5-(10′-acetoxy-2′,6′,10′-trimethylundecyl)-2-penten-5-olide (6), have been isolated from a soft coral Scleronephthya gracillimum. The structures of the metabolites were determined by extensive spectroscopic analysis. Compound 4 exhibited cytotoxicity against HepG2, A549, and MDA-MB-231 cancer cell lines. Furthermore, steroids 2 and 4 were found to significantly inhibit the accumulation of the pro-inflammatory iNOS protein, and 1, 2, 4 and 5 could effectively reduce the accumulation of COX-2 protein in LPS-stimulated RAW264.7 macrophage cells.
PMCID: PMC3721209  PMID: 23760015
soft coral; Scleronephthya gracillimum; cytotoxicity activity; anti-inflammatory activity
7.  Cytotoxic and Anti-Inflammatory Eunicellin-Based Diterpenoids from the Soft Coral Cladiella krempfi 
Marine Drugs  2013;11(3):788-799.
Five new eunicellin-based diterpenoids, krempfielins E–I (1–5) and seven known compounds (6–12) were isolated from the organic extract of a Taiwanese soft coral Cladiella krempfi. The structures of the new metabolites were elucidated on the basis of extensive spectroscopic analysis. Metabolites 5, 6, 10 and 12 were shown to exhibit cytotoxicity against a limited panel of cancer cell lines. Furthermore, compounds 6 and 10 could potently inhibit the accumulation of the pro-inflammatory iNOS protein, and 6 and 12 could significantly reduce the expression of COX-2 protein in LPS-stimulated RAW264.7 macrophage cells.
PMCID: PMC3705370  PMID: 23481676
eunicellin-based diterpenoids; Cladiella krempfi; cytotoxicity; anti-inflammatory agents
8.  Recurrent Disturbances and the Degradation of Hard Coral Communities in Taiwan 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e44364.
Recurrent disturbances can have a critical effect on the structure and function of coral reef communities. In this study, long-term changes were examined in the hard coral community at Wanlitung, in southern Taiwan, between 1985 and 2010. In this 26 year interval, the reef has experienced repeated disturbances that include six typhoons and two coral-bleaching events. The frequency of disturbance has meant that species susceptible to disturbance, such as those in the genus Acropora and Montipora have almost disappeared from the reef. Indeed, almost all hard coral species have declined in abundance, with the result that total hard coral cover in 2010 (17.7%) was less than half what it was in 1985 (47.5%). In addition, macro-algal cover has increased from 11.3% in 2003 to 28.5% in 2010. The frequency of disturbance combined with possible chronic influence of a growing human population mean that a diverse reef assemblage is unlikely to persist on this reef into the future.
PMCID: PMC3431363  PMID: 22952967
9.  Lochmolins A–G, New Sesquiterpenoids from the Soft Coral Sinularia lochmodes 
Marine Drugs  2012;10(7):1572-1581.
Seven new sesquiterpenoids, lochmolins A–G (1–7), were isolated from a Taiwanese soft coral Sinularia lochmodes. The structures of these metabolites were elucidated by extensive spectroscopic study. Compounds 1–4 were found to inhibit the accumulation of the LPS-induced pro-inflammatory COX-2 protein in RAW264.7 macrophage cells.
PMCID: PMC3407932  PMID: 22851927
soft coral; Sinularia lochmodes; sesquiterpenes; aromadendrane; germacrane
10.  Briacavatolides A–C, New Briaranes from the Taiwanese Octocoral Briareum excavatum 
Marine Drugs  2012;10(5):1019-1026.
In order to search for novel bioactive substances from marine organisms, we have investigated the organic extracts of the Taiwanese octocoral Briareum excavatum collected at Orchid Island. Three new briarane-type diterpenoids, briacavatolides A–C (1–3) as well as two known briaranes, briaexcavatolide U (4) and briaexcavatin L (5) were isolated from the acetone extract. The structures of these compounds were elucidated by extensive NMR spectroscopic analysis and physical data. The anti-HCMV (human cytomegalovirus) activity of 1–5 and their cytotoxicity against selected cancer cell lines were evaluated.
PMCID: PMC3397463  PMID: 22822353
Briareumexcavatum; briarane-type diterpenoid; cytotoxicity; anti-HCMV
11.  Sarcocrassocolides M–O, Bioactive Cembranoids from the Dongsha Atoll Soft Coral Sarcophyton crassocaule 
Marine Drugs  2012;10(3):617-626.
Three new cembranoids, sarcocrassocolides M–O (1–3), have been isolated from the soft coral Sarcophyton crassocaule. The structures of the metabolites were determined by extensive spectroscopic analysis. Compounds 1–3 were shown to exhibit moderate cytotoxicity toward a limited panel of cancer cell lines and display significant in vitro anti-inflammatory activity in LPS-stimulated RAW264.7 macrophage cells by inhibiting the expression of the iNOS protein.
PMCID: PMC3347019  PMID: 22611358
soft coral; Sarcophytoncrassocaule; cytotoxic activity; anti-inflammatory activity
12.  Steroids from the Soft Coral Sinularia crassa  
Marine Drugs  2012;10(2):439-450.
One new sterol, crassarosterol A (1), and four new steroidal glycosides, crassarosterosides A–D (2–5) were isolated from the Formosan soft coral Sinularia crassa. The absolute configuration of 1 was determined using the Mosher’s method. The absolute configurations for the sugar moieties of 2–5 were determined by HPLC analysis on the o-tolylthiocarbamates derived from the liberated sugar after acid hydrolysis. Compounds 2 and 4 could significantly inhibit the expression of pro-inflammatory iNOS protein at 10 µM. In contrast, 1–3 were found to stimulate the expression of COX-2 protein at this concentration. Steroids 1 and 4 also showed cytotoxicity toward the selected human liver cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC3297007  PMID: 22412811
Sinularia crassa; crassarosterosides A–D; crassarosterol A; anti-inflammatory activity; o-tolylthiocarbamate
13.  Mitochondrial and Nuclear Genes Suggest that Stony Corals Are Monophyletic but Most Families of Stony Corals Are Not (Order Scleractinia, Class Anthozoa, Phylum Cnidaria) 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(9):e3222.
Modern hard corals (Class Hexacorallia; Order Scleractinia) are widely studied because of their fundamental role in reef building and their superb fossil record extending back to the Triassic. Nevertheless, interpretations of their evolutionary relationships have been in flux for over a decade. Recent analyses undermine the legitimacy of traditional suborders, families and genera, and suggest that a non-skeletal sister clade (Order Corallimorpharia) might be imbedded within the stony corals. However, these studies either sampled a relatively limited array of taxa or assembled trees from heterogeneous data sets. Here we provide a more comprehensive analysis of Scleractinia (127 species, 75 genera, 17 families) and various outgroups, based on two mitochondrial genes (cytochrome oxidase I, cytochrome b), with analyses of nuclear genes (ß-tubulin, ribosomal DNA) of a subset of taxa to test unexpected relationships. Eleven of 16 families were found to be polyphyletic. Strikingly, over one third of all families as conventionally defined contain representatives from the highly divergent “robust” and “complex” clades. However, the recent suggestion that corallimorpharians are true corals that have lost their skeletons was not upheld. Relationships were supported not only by mitochondrial and nuclear genes, but also often by morphological characters which had been ignored or never noted previously. The concordance of molecular characters and more carefully examined morphological characters suggests a future of greater taxonomic stability, as well as the potential to trace the evolutionary history of this ecologically important group using fossils.
PMCID: PMC2528942  PMID: 18795098

Results 1-13 (13)