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Letters to Nature
Nature 203, 1064 - 1065 (05 September 1964); doi:10.1038/2031064a0

Structure and Synthesis of Distamycin A

F. ARCAMONE, S. PENCO, P. OREZZI, V. NICOLELLA & ANNAMARIA PIRELLI

Laboratori di Ricerche Farmitalia, Milano, Italy.

DISTAMYCIN, a mixture of antibiotic substances exhibiting predominantly antifungal activity, was obtained by submerged fermentation and butanol extraction of the mycelial mass of a Streptomyces sp. An amorphous product (fraction A), showing a positive Ehrlich reaction and a typical ultra-violet spectrum, was separated from the other active components by solvent fractionation and chromatography on aluminium oxide1,2. Partially purified preparations of this fraction, obtained during isolation investigations, were found to inhibit in various degrees some experimental tumours in mice3 and to interfere with the process of cell division in vitro 4. The ultra-violet and infra-red spectra of these preparations showed some similarities with the antibiotic netropsin5 (synonyms are antibiotic T–1384 (ref. 6) and congocidin7). Presence of the latter antibiotic in fraction A of distamycin could, however, be readily excluded by the lack of a positive Sakaguchi reaction and by direct chromatographic and spectroscopic comparison with an authentic sample.

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