The emergence of drug resistance and spread of new infectious diseases necessitated the
development of novel antibiotics. Marine sponge-associated fungi represent a reservoir of novel molecules
with diverse biological potentials. In this study, we isolated five nitrobenzoyloxy-substituted
sesquiterpenes 1-5 from the culture mycelia of an endozoic fungus Aspergillus insulicola MD10-2, obtained
from the South China Sea sponge Cinachyrella australiensis. Compound 2 showed cytotoxicity
against human lung cancer cell line H-460 with an IC50 value of 6.9 µM. Cytotoxicity of the acetylated derivatives (2a and
2b) of compound 2 decreased markedly, suggesting that the hydroxyl group contributed to the cytotoxic activity. Compound
5 was inactive against H-460, which implied the double bond at C-7 had an effect on cytotoxic activity as well.
Keywords: Marine fungus, Aspergillus insulicola, sponge, sesquiterpene, lung cancer, cytotoxic activity.
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