The search for a taxol-producing microorganism among the endophytic fungi of the pacific yew, taxus brevifolia1

Andrea Stierle, Gary Strobel, Donald Stierle, Paul Grothaus, Gary Bignami

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205 Scopus citations

Abstract

Endophytic microbes associated with the Pacific yew tree, Taxus brevifolia, were examined as potential sources of the anticancer drug taxol [1], a secondary metabolite of the host organism. The first promising organism found was the novel fungus, Taxomyces andreanae, which was isolated from the inner bark of a yew tree growing in northwestern Montana. It appears to produce taxol and other taxanes in de novo fashion when grown in semi-synthetic liquid media. The presence of 1 in the fungal extract was confirmed by mass spectrometry, comparative chromatographic behavior with “yew” taxol, reactivity with taxol-specific monoclonal antibodies, and 9KB cytotoxicity studies. Both acetate-1-14C and phenylalanine UL-14C served as precursors of taxol-14C in fungal culture labeling studies, confirming the de novo synthesis of 1 by the fungus. Immunoassay techniques are currently being used to screen extracts of Taxomyces andreanae for new taxanes, and to determine if other endophytic fungi are taxol producers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1315-1324
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Natural Products
Volume58
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1995

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