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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012, Article ID 179782, 10 pages
Review Article

Exploring Marine Cyanobacteria for Lead Compounds of Pharmaceutical Importance

Department of Bioinformatics and Biotechnology, International Islamic University Islamabad, Sector H-10, 44000 Islamabad, Pakistan

Received 13 October 2011; Accepted 20 November 2011

Academic Editor: Jean-Marc Sabatier

Copyright © 2012 Bushra Uzair et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The Ocean, which is called the “mother of origin of life,” is also the source of structurally unique natural products that are mainly accumulated in living organisms. Cyanobacteria are photosynthetic prokaryotes used as food by humans. They are excellent source of vitamins and proteins vital for life. Several of these compounds show pharmacological activities and are helpful for the invention and discovery of bioactive compounds, primarily for deadly diseases like cancer, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), arthritis, and so forth, while other compounds have been developed as analgesics or to treat inflammation, and so forth. They produce a large variety of bioactive compounds, including substances with anticancer and antiviral activity, UV protectants, specific inhibitors of enzymes, and potent hepatotoxins and neurotoxins. Many cyanobacteria produce compounds with potent biological activities. This paper aims to showcase the structural diversity of marine cyanobacterial secondary metabolites with a comprehensive coverage of alkaloids and other applications of cyanobacteria.