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Cytotoxic activity of cordycepin produced by marine-derived fungus Emericella sp. against HT29 human colon cancer cell lines

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Colorectal cancer accounted for the third most common cancer in the world. The search for new drug candidates that can be used for colorectal cancer treatment from marine-derived fungi, Emericella sp. The present study was performed to isolate the cytotoxic compound from Emericella sp. The isolation method was carried out by using a combination of chromatographic techniques to afford compound 1. The cytotoxic activity and the exosome production property were determined by using proliferation and luciferase assay against HT29 CD63 Nluc cells, respectively. The chemical structure of compound 1 was identified as cordycepin based on spectroscopy methods such as mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance (1D and 2D NMR) analyses and comparison with authentic spectral data. The biological activity assay showed that cordycepin exhibited cytotoxic activity with an IC50 value of 92.05 µM through proliferation assay, and also inhibited the exosome production by luciferase assay with an IC50 value of 86.47 µM. Cordycepin was isolated from culture broth Emericella sp., exhibiting moderate cytotoxic activity and inhibitory activity of exosome production. Thus, cordycepin is a potential compound to be investigated further for its exosome production inhibition activity for further use as an anticancer lead compound.

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All data generated or analyzed during this study are available from the corresponding author upon request.


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The authors are grateful to Dr. Chitose Oneyama (Aichi Cancer Center Research Institute, Nagoya, Japan) for kindly providing the HT29 CD63 Nluc cells.


This study was financially supported by Excellence Higher Education Institution Research 2020 DIKTI, Directorate of Higher Education of the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education of the Republic of Indonesia (No. 2/AMD/EI/KP.PTNBH/2020). This research was also partially supported by Research Support Project for Life Science and Drug Discovery (Basis for Supporting Innovative Drug Discovery and Life Science Research (BINDS)) from AMED under Grant Number JP23ama121054, and Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research B, grant No. 21H02069, from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) to M.A.

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EJ, MS, and MA conceived and designed the experiments; EJ, FSD, and JL performed the experiments; EJ, MA, MYP, and AK analyzed the data; EJ, MA and MYP wrote the paper.

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Correspondence to Elin Julianti.

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This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

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Communicated by Yusuf Akhter.

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Julianti, E., Azhari, M., Singgih, M. et al. Cytotoxic activity of cordycepin produced by marine-derived fungus Emericella sp. against HT29 human colon cancer cell lines. Arch Microbiol 205, 378 (2023).

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