Chemistry, Chemotaxonomy and Biological Activity of the Latrunculid Sponges (Order Poecilosclerida, Family Latrunculiidae)

Marine sponges are exceptionally prolific sources of natural products for the discovery and development of new drugs. Until now, sponges have contributed around 30% of all natural metabolites isolated from the marine environment. Family Latrunculiidae Topsent, 1922 (class Demospongiae Sollas, 1885, order Poecilosclerida Topsent, 1928) is a small sponge family comprising seven genera. Latrunculid sponges are recognized as the major reservoirs of diverse types of pyrroloiminoquinone-type alkaloids, with a myriad of biological activities, in particular, cytotoxicity, fuelling their exploration for anticancer drug discovery. Almost 100 pyrroloiminoquinone alkaloids and their structurally related compounds have been reported from the family Latrunculiidae. The systematics of latrunculid sponges has had a complex history, however it is now well understood. The pyrroloiminoquinone alkaloids have provided important chemotaxonomic characters for this sponge family. Latrunculid sponges have been reported to contain other types of metabolites, such as peptides (callipeltins), norditerpenes and norsesterpenes (trunculins) and macrolides (latrunculins), however, the sponges containing latrunculins and trunculins have been transferred to other sponge families. This review highlights a comprehensive literature survey spanning from the first chemical investigation of a New Zealand Latrunculia sp. in 1986 until August 2020, focusing on the chemical diversity and biological activities of secondary metabolites reported from the family Latrunculiidae. The biosynthetic (microbial) origin and the taxonomic significance of pyrroloiminoquinone related alkaloids are also discussed.

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