During a search for inhibitors of oncogenic K-Ras, we detected two known and two new examples of the rare neoantimycin structure class from a liquid cultivation of Streptomyces orinoci, and reassigned/assigned structures to all based on detailed spectroscopic analysis and microscale C3 Marfey's and C3 Mosher chemical degradation/derivatization/analysis. SAR investigations inclusive of the biosynthetically related antimycins and respirantin, and synthetic benzoxazolone, documented a unique N-formyl amino-salicylamide pharmacophore as a potent inhibitor of oncogenic K-Ras.
A soil Streptomyces nov. sp. (MST-115088) isolated from semiarid terrain near Wollogorang Station, Queensland, returned two known and two new examples of a rare class of cyclic hexapeptide, desotamides A and B (1 and 2) and E and F (3 and 4), respectively, together with two new d-Orn homologues, wollamides A and B (5 and 6). Structures were assigned by detailed spectroscopic and C3 Marfey's analysis. The desotamides/wollamides exhibit growth inhibitory activity against Gram-positive bacteria (IC50 0.6-7 ?M) and are noncytotoxic to mammalian cells (IC50 >30 ?M). The wollamides exhibit antimycobacterial activity (IC50 2.8 and 3.1 ?M), including reduction in the intracellular mycobacterial survival in murine bone marrow-derived macrophages.
Chemical analysis of an Australian marine sediment-derived Aspergillus sp. (CMB-M081F) yielded the new diketomorpholine (DKM) shornephine A (1) together with two known and one new diketopiperazine (DKP), 15b-?-hydroxy-5-N-acetyladreemin (2), 5-N-acetyladreemin (3), and 15b-?-methoxy-5-N-acetyladreemin (4), respectively. Structure elucidation of 1-4 was achieved by detailed spectroscopic analysis, supported by chemical degradation and derivatization, and biosynthetic considerations. The DKM (1) underwent a facile (auto) acid-mediated methanolysis to yield seco-shornephine A methyl ester (1a). Our mechanistic explanation of this transformation prompted us to demonstrate that the acid-labile and solvolytically unstable DKM scaffold can be stabilized by N-alkylation. Furthermore, we demonstrate that at 20 ?M shornephine A (1) is a noncytotoxic inhibitor of P-glycoprotein-mediated drug efflux in multidrug-resistant human colon cancer cells.
Chemical investigations of a soil-derived Streptomyces sp. led to the isolation of five new polyketides, (+)-oxanthromicin, (±)-hemi-oxanthromicins A/B, (±)-spiro-oxanthromicin A and oxanthroquinone, and the known alkaloid staurosporine, and the detection of four new metastable analogues, (±)-spiro-oxanthromicins B1/B2/C1/C2. Among the compounds tested, SAR investigations established that the synthetic oxanthroquinone ethyl ester and 3-O-methyl-oxanthroquinone ethyl ester were optimal at mislocalising oncogenic mutant K-Ras from the plasma membrane of intact Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells (IC50 4.6 and 1.2 ?M), while a sub-EC50 dose of (±)-spiro-oxanthromicin A was optimal at potentiating (750%) the K-Ras inhibitory activity of staurosporine (IC50 60 pM). These studies demonstrate that a rare class of Streptomyces polyketide modulates K-Ras plasma membrane localisation, with implications for the future treatment of K-Ras dependent cancers.
ATP binding cassette (ABC) transporters, such as P-gp, BCRP and MRP1, can increase efflux of clinical chemotherapeutic agents and lead to multi-drug resistance (MDR) in cancer cells. While the discovery and development of clinically useful inhibitors has proved elusive to date, this molecular target nevertheless remains a promising strategy for addressing and potentially overcoming MDR. In a search for new classes of inhibitor, we used fluorescent accumulation and efflux assays supported by cell flow cytometry and MDR reversal assays, against a panel of sensitive and MDR human cancer cell lines, to evaluate the marine sponge co-metabolites 1-12 as inhibitors of P-gp, BCRP or MRP1 initiated MDR. These studies identified and characterized lamellarin O (11) as a selective inhibitor of BCRP mediated drug efflux. A structure-activity relationship analysis inclusive of the natural products 1-12 and the synthetic analogues 13-19, supported by in silico docking studies, revealed key structural requirements for the lamellarin O (11) BCRP inhibitory pharmacophore.
Despite the increasing need for antibiotics to fight infectious diseases, fewer new antibiotics are available on the market. Unfortunately, developing a new class of antibiotics is associated with high commercial risk. Therefore, modification or combination of existing antibiotics to improve their efficacy is a promising strategy. Herein, we conjugated the antibiotic, levofloxacin, with two peptides, i.e. an antimicrobial peptide indolicidin and a cell penetrating peptide (TAT). Glycolic acid and glycine linkers were used between levofloxacin and peptides. We developed an optimized condition for coupling of levofloxacin via its carboxylic group to glycolic acidusing solid phase peptide synthesis (SPPS). Antibacterial and haemolytic assays were carried out on the conjugates andonly the levofloxacin-indolicidinconjugate demonstrated moderate antibacterial activity. Interestingly, physical mixture of levofloxacinand indolicidin showed improvement in the activity against Gram-positive bacteria.
We report on a preliminary investigation of the use the Gram-negative bacterial cell wall constituent lipopolysaccharide (LPS) as a natural chemical cue to stimulate and alter the expression of fungal secondary metabolism. Integrated high-throughput micro-cultivation and micro-analysis methods determined that 6 of 40 (15%) of fungi tested responded to an optimal exposure to LPS (0.6 ng/mL) by activating, enhancing or accelerating secondary metabolite production. To explore the possible mechanisms behind this effect, we employed light and fluorescent microscopy in conjunction with a nitric oxide (NO)-sensitive fluorescent dye and an NO scavenger to provide evidence that LPS stimulation of fungal secondary metabolism coincided with LPS activation of NO. Several case studies demonstrated that LPS stimulation can be scaled from single microplate well (1.5 mL) to preparative (>400 mL) scale cultures. For example, LPS treatment of Penicillium sp. (ACM-4616) enhanced pseurotin A and activated pseurotin A1 and pseurotin A2 biosynthesis, whereas LPS treatment of Aspergillus sp. (CMB-M81F) substantially accelerated and enhanced the biosynthesis of shornephine A and a series of biosynthetically related ardeemins and activated production of neoasterriquinone. As an indication of broader potential, we provide evidence that cultures of Penicillium sp. (CMB-TF0411), Aspergillus niger (ACM-4993F), Rhizopus oryzae (ACM-165F) and Thanatephorus cucumeris (ACM-194F) were responsive to LPS stimulation, the latter two examples being particular noteworthy as neither are known to produce secondary metabolites. Our results encourage the view that LPS stimulation can be used as a valuable tool to expand the molecular discovery potential of fungal strains that either have been exhaustively studied by or are unresponsive to traditional culture methodology.
A marine-derived Streptomyces sp. (CMB-M0244) isolated from a sediment collected off South Molle Island, Queensland, produced mollemycin A (1) as a new first in class glyco-hexadepsipeptide-polyketide. The structure of 1 was assigned by detailed spectroscopic analysis, supported by chemical derivatization and degradation, and C3 Marfey's analysis. Mollemycin A (1) exhibits exceptionally potent and selective growth inhibitory activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria (IC50 10-50 nM) and drug-sensitive (3D7; IC50 7 nM) and multidrug-resistant (Dd2; IC50 9 nM) clones of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.
An extract of the Great Australian Bight marine sponge Callyspongia sp. (CMB-01152) displayed inhibitory activity against the neurodegenerative disease kinase targets casein kinase 1 (CK1), cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (CDK5) and glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3?). Chemical investigation, employing HPLC-DAD-MS single ion extraction protocols, facilitated identification of the new bromopyrrole alkaloids, callyspongisines A-D (1-4), and two known co-metabolites, hymenialdisine (5) and 2-bromoaldisine (6). Structure elucidation of 1-6 was supported by detailed spectroscopic analysis and chemical interconversion, as well as biosynthetic and synthetic considerations. Callyspongisine A (1) is only the second reported example of a natural imino-oxazoline, and the first to feature a spiro heterocyclic framework, while callyspongisines B-D (2-4) were speculated to be storage and handling artefacts of 1. The kinase inhibitory activity detected in Callyspongia sp. (CMB-01152) was attributed to 5.
The heronapyrroles A-C have first been isolated from a marine-derived Streptomyces sp. (CMB-0423) in 2010. Structurally, these natural products feature an unusual nitropyrrole system to which a partially oxidized farnesyl chain is attached. The varying degree of oxidation of the sesquiterpenyl subunit in heronapyrroles A-C provoked the hypothesis that there might exist other hitherto unidentified metabolites. On biosynthetic grounds a mono-tetrahydrofuran-diol named heronapyrrole D appeared a possible candidate. We here describe a short asymmetric synthesis of heronapyrrole D, its detection in cultivations of CMB-0423 and finally the evaluation of its antibacterial activity. We thus demonstrate that biosynthetic considerations and the joint effort of synthetic and natural product chemists can result in the identification of new members of a rare class of natural products.
A flexible total synthesis of the 2-nitropyrrole-derived marine natural product, (+)-heronapyrrole C, is reported. The approach is based on regioselective access to key building blocks containing the rare 4-substituted 2-nitropyrrole motif. Sharpless asymmetric epoxidation and dihydroxylation and a Shi epoxidation were used to introduce the five stereogenic centers of the bis-THF-diol side chain. The N-benzoyloxymethyl (Boz) protecting group was crucial for functionalization of the 2-nitropyrrole moiety and enabling final deprotection under mild conditions.
Bioassay guided fractionation of three southern Australian marine sponges of the genus Psammocinia, selected for their ability to modulate glycine-gated chloride channel receptors (GlyRs), yielded the rare marine sesterterpenes (-)-ircinianin (1) and (-)-ircinianin sulfate (2), along with the new biosynthetically related metabolites (-)-ircinianin lactam A (3), (-)-ircinianin lactam A sulfate (4), (-)-oxoircinianin (5), (-)-oxoircinianin lactam A (6) and (-)-ircinianin lactone A (7). Acetylation of 1 returned (-)-ircinianin acetate (8). Whole cell patch-clamp electrophysiology on 1-8 established 3 as an exceptionally potent and selective ?3 GlyR potentiator, and 6 as a selective ?1 GlyR potentiator. The discovery and characterization of sesterterpenes 1-8, and in particular the glycinyl-lactams 3 and 6, provide valuable new insights into GlyR pharmacology. These insights have the potential to inform and inspire the development of new molecular tools to probe GlyR distribution and function, and therapeutics to treat a wide array of GlyR mediated diseases and disorders.
Chemical analysis of a specimen of the sponge Ianthella cf. flabelliformis returned two new sesquiterpene glycinyl lactams, ianthellalactams A (1) and B (2), the known sponge sesquiterpene dictyodendrillin (3) and its ethanolysis artifact ethyl dictyodendrillin (4), and five known sponge indole alkaloids, aplysinopsin (5), 8E-3-deimino-3-oxoaplysinopsin (6), 8Z-3-deimino-3-oxoaplysinopsin (7), dihydroaplysinopsin (8) and tubastrindole B (9). The equilibrated mixture 6/7 exhibited glycine-gated chloride channel receptor (GlyR) antagonist activity with a bias towards ?3 over ?1 GlyR, while tubastrindole B (9) exhibited a bias towards ?1 over ?3 GlyR. At low- to sub-micromolar concentrations, 9 was also a selective potentiator of ?1 GlyR, with no effect on ?3 GlyR-a pharmacology that could prove useful in the treatment of movement disorders such as spasticity and hyperekplexia. Our investigations into the GlyR modulatory properties of 1-9 were further supported by the synthesis of a number of structurally related indole alkaloids.
High intrinsic or acquired expression of membrane spanning, adenosine triphosphate binding cassette (ABC) transporter proteins, such as P-glycoprotein (P-gp), in cancers represents a major impediment to chemotherapy, with accelerated drug efflux leading to multi-drug resistance (MDR). Although ABC transporter inhibitors offer the prospect of reversing the MDR phenotype, no inhibitors have advanced to the clinic. We employed a range of intracellular fluorescence and radio-ligand accumulation and efflux assays, together with cytotoxicity and MDR reversal assays, as well as flow cytometry, fluorescence microscopy and radioimmunoprecipitation, to discover and evaluate new P-gp inhibitors from a unique library of southern Australian and Antarctic marine natural products. This study successfully characterized two rare bromoditerpenes, parguerenes I and II, sourced from a southern Australian collection of the red alga Laurencia filiformis, as P-gp inhibitors. We determined that the parguerenes were non-cytotoxic, dose-dependent inhibitors of P-gp mediated drug efflux, that modify the extracellular antibody binding epitope of P-gp in a manner that differs markedly from that of the known inhibitors verapamil and cyclosporine A. We confirmed that parguerenes were capable of reversing P-gp mediated vinblastine, doxorubicin and paclitaxel MDR, that inhibitory properties span both P-gp and multidrug resistant protein 1 (MRP1), but do not extend to breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP), and that parguerene II is superior (more potent) to verapamil. Our investigations validate the proposition that marine natural products can deliver new ABC transporter inhibitor scaffolds, with structure characteristics fundamentally different from existing inhibitor classes.
Mammalian cells store excess fatty acids as neutral lipids in specialised organelles called lipid droplets (LDs). Using a simple cell-based assay and open-source software we established a high throughput screen for LD formation in A431 cells in order to identify small bioactive molecules affecting lipid storage. Screening an n-butanol extract library from Australian marine organisms we identified 114 extracts that produced either an increase or a decrease in LD formation in fatty acid-treated A431 cells with varying degrees of cytotoxicity. We selected for further analysis a non-cytotoxic extract derived from the genus Spongia (Heterofibria). Solvent partitioning, HPLC fractionation and spectroscopic analysis (NMR, MS) identified a family of related molecules within this extract with unique structural features, a subset of which reduced LD formation. We selected one of these molecules, heterofibrin A1, for more detailed cellular analysis. Inhibition of LD biogenesis by heterofibrin A1 was observed in both A431 cells and AML12 hepatocytes. The activity of heterofibrin A1 was dose dependent with 20 µM inhibiting LD formation and triglyceride accumulation by ?50% in the presence of 50 µM oleic acid. Using a fluorescent fatty acid analogue we found that heterofibrin A1 significantly reduces the intracellular accumulation of fatty acids and results in the formation of distinct fatty acid metabolites in both cultured cells and in embryos of the zebrafish Danio rerio. In summary we have shown using readily accessible software and a relatively simple assay system that we can identify and isolate bioactive molecules from marine extracts, which affect the formation of LDs and the metabolism of fatty acids both in vitro and in vivo.
An Australian marine sediment-derived isolate, Nocardiopsis sp. (CMB-M0232), yielded a new class of prenylated diketopiperazine, indicative of the action of a uniquely regioselective diketopiperazine indole prenyltransferase. The bridged scaffold of nocardioazine A proved to be a noncytotoxic inhibitor of the membrane protein efflux pump P-glycoprotein, reversing doxorubicin resistance in a multidrug resistant colon cancer cell.
Chemical analysis of fermentation products from two Australian Streptomyces isolates yielded all four known and twelve new examples of the rare reveromycin class of polyketide spiroketals, including hemi-succinates, hemi-fumarates and hemi-furanoates. Reveromycins were identified with the aid of HPLC-DAD-MS and HPLC-DAD-SPE-NMR methodology, and structures were assigned by detailed spectroscopic analysis. The structural and mechanistic requirements for an unprecedented hemi-succinate?:?ketal-succinyl equilibrium were defined and provided a basis for proposing that reveromycin 4-methyl esters and 5,6-spiroketals were artifacts. A plausible reveromycin polyketide biosynthesis is proposed, requiring a 2-methylsuccinyl-CoA starter unit, with flexible incorporation of a C(6-8) polyketide chain extension and diacid esterification units. Structure activity relationship investigations by co-metabolites were used to assess the anticancer, antibacterial and antifungal properties of reveromycins.
Chemical analysis of a marine-derived Streptomyces sp. (CMB-M0423) isolated from beach sand off Heron Island, Australia, yielded three new members of the rare pyrroloterpene biosynthetic structure class. Identified by detailed spectroscopic analysis as the first reported examples of naturally occurring 2-nitropyrroles, heronapyrroles A-C (1-3) displayed promising biological activity-with low to submicromolar IC(50) activity against Gram-positive bacteria but no cytotoxicity toward mammalian cell lines.
A Streptomyces sp. isolated from a shallow water sediment sample collected off Heron Island, Australia, afforded three new polyketide macrolactams, heronamides A-C (1-3). Structures were assigned to the heronamides on the basis of detailed spectroscopic analysis, chemical derivatization and biosynthetic considerations. A plausible biosynthetic pathway is proposed in which key carbocyclic ring transformations proceed via an unprecedented synchronized tandem electrocyclization. This biosynthesis provides a framework for the assignment of complete relative configurations across all heronamides, and inspires an attractive biomimetic strategy for future total syntheses. Heronamide C elicits a dramatic and reversible non-cytotoxic effect on mammalian cell morphology.
A bioassay-guided search for inhibitors of lipid droplet formation in a deep-water southern Australian marine sponge, Spongia (Heterofibria) sp., yielded six new compounds, fatty acids heterofibrins A1 (1) and B1 (4), along with related monolactyl and dilactyl esters, heterofibrins A2 (2), B2 (5), A3 (3) and B3 (6). Heterofibrin structures were assigned on the basis of detailed spectroscopic analysis, with comparison to chiral synthetic model compounds. All heterofibrins possess a diyne-ene moiety, while the monolactyl and dilactyl moiety featured in selected heterofibrins is unprecedented in the natural products literature. SAR by co-metabolite studies on the heterofibrins confirmed them to be non-cytotoxic, with the carboxylic acids 1 and 4 inhibiting lipid droplet formation in A431 fibroblast cell lines. Such inhibitors have potential application in the management of obesity, diabetes and atherosclerosis
Screening an extract library of >2500 southern Australian and Antarctic marine invertebrates and algae for modulators of glycine receptor (GlyR) chloride channels identified three Irciniidae sponges that yielded new examples of a rare class of glycinyl lactam sesterterpene, ircinialactam A, 8-hydroxyircinialactam A, 8-hydroxyircinialactam B, ircinialactam C, ent-ircinialactam C and ircinialactam D. Structure-activity relationship (SAR) investigations revealed a new pharmacophore with potent and subunit selective modulatory properties against alpha1 and alpha3 GlyR isoforms. Such GlyR modulators have potential application as pharmacological tools, and as leads for the development of GlyR targeting therapeutics to treat chronic inflammatory pain, epilepsy, spasticity and hyperekplexia.
A marine-derived actinomycete, Nocardiopsis sp. (CMB-M0232), obtained from a sediment sample collected at a depth of 55 m off the coast of Brisbane, Australia, yielded two new macrolide polyketides. Structures for nocardiopsins A and B were assigned by detailed spectroscopic analysis, degradation and chemical derivatization. A Marfeys analysis revealed an unexpected acid-mediated partial racemization of the L-pipecolic acid incorporated within the nocardiopsins. The scope of this racemization was assessed against a selection of natural and synthetic N-acyl pipecolic acids. While the nocardiopsins are not antibacterial, antifungal or cytotoxic, they do exhibit low-micromolar binding to the immunophilin FKBP12, consistent with their structural and biosynthetic relationship to the immunosuppressive agents FK506 and rapamycin. The nocardiopsins represent a new point of entry into what has been a valuable, exclusive and reclusive region of bioactive chemical space--that surrounding the FK506/rapamycin pharmacophore.
Chemical investigation of a southern Australian marine sponge, Clathria sp., yielded the known mirabilins C, F and G, together with three new analogues, mirabilins H-J. For the first time mirabilins C and F are documented as the underivatized natural products, and a complete absolute stereochemistry is assigned to mirabilin F. Mirabilin I represents the first member of this structure class to incorporate a trans-fused ring junction. Structures for all mirabilins are assigned on the basis of detailed spectroscopic analysis. A plausible polyketide origin is proposed, linking all mirabilins and related sponge alkaloids. Mirabilin cytotoxicity against several human cancer cell lines is discussed.
Chemical analysis of a Streptomyces sp. (CMB-MQ030) isolated from a Fijian marine sediment yielded two new diketopiperazines, naseseazines A and B (1, 2), featuring a new dimeric framework. Structures were determined by detailed spectroscopic analysis and C(3) Marfeys analysis.
Estrogen-related receptors (ERRs) are constitutively active orphan nuclear receptors. Natural ligands have not been identified, however, recent reports have demonstrated the synthetic phenolic acyl hydrazone, GSK4716, functions as a selective ERRbeta/gamma agonist. We demonstrate that ERRbeta is transiently induced, and ERRgamma is dramatically induced (and accumulates) in a differentiation-dependent manner in skeletal muscle cells. Treatment of differentiated skeletal muscle cells with the ERRbeta/gamma agonist (GSK4716) produced a significant increase in the expression of GRalpha (isoform D) protein. Quantitative RT-PCR (Q-RT-PCR) analysis after treatment with GSK4716, revealed induction of the mRNAs encoding the glucocorticoid receptor (GR), 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11beta-HSD1), the enzyme that converts inactive cortisone to cortisol and hexose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase expression (H6PDH) that stimulates oxoreduction by 11beta-HSD1. Candidate based expression profiling also demonstrated the mRNAs encoding characterized GR target genes, including C/EBP, ApoD and Monoamine oxidase-A (MAO-A) are induced in GSK4716 treated cells. In concordance with these observations, siRNA-mediated suppression of the mRNA encoding ERRgamma (but not ERRalpha and beta) attenuated the expression of mRNAs encoding GR, 11betaHSD1 and GR target gene(s). Similarly, treatment with the ERRgamma (and ERalpha) antagonist diethylstilbestrol (DES) suppressed glucocorticoid responsive gene expression in skeletal muscle cells. Interestingly, we observed that GSK4716 trans-activated GRE-TK-LUC in a GR-dependent manner. This study highlights the regulatory crosstalk between ERRgamma and GR signaling in skeletal muscle cells, and suggests the ERRgamma agonist modulates the expression of critical genes that control GR signaling and glucocorticoid sensitive gene expression.
An Australian marine-derived isolate of Aspergillus versicolor (MST-MF495) yielded the known fungal metabolites sterigmatocystin, violaceol I, violaceol II, diorcinol, (-)-cyclopenol, and viridicatol, along with a new alkaloid, cottoquinazoline A (1), and two new cyclopentapeptides, cotteslosins A (2) and B (3). Structures for 1-3 and the known compounds were determined by spectroscopic analysis. The absolute configurations of 1-3 were addressed by chemical degradation and application of the C(3) Marfeys method. The use of "cellophane raft" high-nutrient media as a device for up-regulating secondary metabolite diversity in marine-derived fungi is discussed. The antibacterial properties displayed by A. versicolor (MST-MF495) were attributed to the phenols violaceol I, violaceol II, and diorcinol, while cotteslosins 2 and 3 were identified as weak cytotoxic agents.
Chemical analysis of southern Australian marine sponges of the genera Higginsia and Spongosorites has yielded examples of the discorhabdin class of alkaloids. These include the known metabolites (+)-discorhabdin A (1), (+)-discorhabdin D (2), makaluvamine J (6), and damirone A (7), together with four new analogues, (+)-dihydrodiscorhabdin A (3), (+)-debromodiscorhabdin A (4), (+)-dihydrodiscorhabdin L (8), and (+)-discorhabdin X (5), with the latter compound being the first reported example of a thio heterocycle flanked by oxo-thio-acetal and azo-thio-acetal functionalities. Structures for the new compounds were assigned on the basis of detailed spectroscopic interpretation.
We conducted a quantitative and qualitative chemical analysis of cane toad bufadienolides--the cardioactive steroids that are believed to be the principal cane toad toxins. We found complex shifts in toxin composition through toad ontogeny: (1) eggs contain at least 28 dominant bufadienolides, 17 of which are not detected in any other ontogenetic stage; (2) tadpoles present a simpler chemical profile with two to eight dominant bufadienolides; and (3) toxin diversity decreases during tadpole life but increases again after metamorphosis (larger metamorph/juvenile toads display five major bufadienolides). Total bufadienolide concentrations are highest in eggs (2.64 +/- 0.56 micromol/mg), decreasing during tadpole life stages (0.084 +/- 0.060 micromol/mg) before rising again after metamorphosis (2.35 +/- 0.45 micromol/mg). These variations in total bufadienolide levels correlate with toxicity to Australian frog species. For example, consumption of cane toad eggs killed tadpoles of two Australian frog species (Limnodynastes convexiusculus and Litoria rothii), whereas no tadpoles died after consuming late-stage cane toad tadpoles or small metamorphs. The high toxicity of toad eggs reflects components in the egg itself, not the surrounding jelly coat. Our results suggest a dramatic ontogenetic shift in the danger that toads pose to native predators, reflecting rapid changes in the types and amounts of toxins during toad development.
The cane toad is an invasive pest that is rapidly colonising northern Australia. The cane toad parotoid gland secretes cardiotoxic steroids (bufadienolides) that are poisoning native predator species. This study reveals bufadienolide diversity within the secretions of Australian cane toads is different to cane toads from overseas, being far more structurally diverse than previously assumed. It is proposed that this variation is mediated by in situ bacterial biotransformation.
Increasing antibiotic resistance is making the identification of novel antimicrobial targets critical. Recently, we discovered an inhibitor of protein tyrosine phosphatase CpsB, fascioquinol E (FQE), which unexpectedly inhibited the growth of Gram-positive pathogens. CpsB is a member of the polymerase and histidinol phosphate phosphatase (PHP) domain family. Another member of this family found in a variety of Gram-positive pathogens is DNA polymerase PolC. We purified the PHP domain from PolC (PolC(PHP)), and showed that this competes away FQE inhibition of CpsB phosphatase activity. Furthermore, we showed that this domain hydrolyses the 5-p-nitrophenyl ester of thymidine-5-monophosphate (pNP-TMP), which has been used as a measure of exonuclease activity. Finally, we showed that FQE not only inhibits the phosphatase activity of CpsB, but also ability of PolC(PHP) to catalyse the hydrolysis of pNP-TMP. This suggests that PolC may be the essential target of FQE, and that the PHP domain may represent an as yet untapped target for the development of novel antibiotics.
An intertidal sample of the Australian marine brown alga, Zonaria spiralis, exhibited promising kinase inhibitory and antibacterial activity. Chemical analysis returned six phloroglucinol-derived lipids, the new hemiketal spiralisones A-D (1-4) and the known chromones 5-6, and the known norsesquiterpenoid apo-9-fucoxanthinone (7). Structures 1-7 were assigned on the basis of detailed spectroscopic analysis, biosynthetic considerations and total synthesis. Spiralisones undergo facile acid-mediated dehydration to yield the corresponding chromones, revealing for the first time that brown algal chromones may be handling artifacts rather than natural products. Hemiketals 1 and 2, and chromone 6, displayed inhibitory activity against the neurodegenerative disease kinase targets CDK5/p25, CK1? and GSK3?, while hemiketals 1, 3 and 4, and chromone 6, displayed growth inhibitory activity against the Gram-positive bacteria Bacillus subtilis (ATCC 6051 and 6633). The promising kinase inhibitory and antibacterial properties of the Z. spiralis extract were attributed to the cumulative effect of many moderately potent phloroglucinol-derived lipid co-metabolites.
Oncogenic mutant Ras is frequently expressed in human cancers, but no anti-Ras drugs have been developed. Since membrane association is essential for Ras biological activity, we developed a high content assay for inhibitors of Ras plasma membrane localization. We discovered that staurosporine and analogs potently inhibit Ras plasma membrane binding by blocking endosomal recycling of phosphatidylserine, resulting in redistribution of phosphatidylserine from plasma membrane to endomembrane. Staurosporines are more active against K-Ras than H-Ras. K-Ras is displaced to endosomes and undergoes proteasomal-independent degradation, whereas H-Ras redistributes to the Golgi and is not degraded. K-Ras nanoclustering on the plasma membrane is also inhibited. Ras mislocalization does not correlate with protein kinase C inhibition or induction of apoptosis. Staurosporines selectively abrogate K-Ras signaling and proliferation of K-Ras-transformed cells. These results identify staurosporines as novel inhibitors of phosphatidylserine trafficking, yield new insights into the role of phosphatidylserine and electrostatics in Ras plasma membrane targeting, and validate a new target for anti-Ras therapeutics.
An Aspergillus versicolor isolated from sediment collected from the Bohai Sea, China, yielded the new dimeric diketopiperazine brevianamide S (1), together with three new monomeric cometabolites, brevianamides T (2), U (3), and V (4). Structures were determined by detailed spectroscopic analysis. Brevianamide S exhibited selective antibacterial activity against Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG), suggestive of a new mechanism of action that could inform the development of next-generation antitubercular drugs.
Protein prenylation is required for membrane anchorage of small GTPases. Correct membrane targeting is essential for their biological activity. Signal output of the prenylated proto-oncogene Ras in addition critically depends on its organization into nanoscale proteolipid assemblies of the plasma membrane, so called nanoclusters. While protein prenylation is an established drug target, only a handful of nanoclustering inhibitors are known, partially due to the lack of appropriate assays to screen for such compounds. Here, we describe three cell-based high-throughput screening amenable Förster resonance energy transfer NANOclustering and Prenylation Sensors (NANOPS) that are specific for Ras, Rho, and Rab proteins. Rab-NANOPS provides the first evidence for nanoclustering of Rab proteins. Using NANOPS in a cell-based chemical screen, we now identify macrotetrolides, known ionophoric antibiotics, as submicromolar disruptors of Ras nanoclustering and MAPK signaling.
Microbial metabolites are remarkable versatile as potent and selective drug lead candidates, and as in situ molecular probes, capable of interrogating key signalling, transport and developmental pathways. Microbial biodiscovery as a drug discovery paradigm has served science and society extremely well, and with appropriate modernisation and reinvestment is well placed to continue to do so into the future. Advances across many disciplines have revealed an untapped silent microbial secondary metabolism, which promises access to unprecedented bioactive chemical space. This renewed capacity can be further enhanced by recognition of the critical importance of widening the search parameters from narrow single bioassay/indication directed programs, to target both active and (seemingly) inactive metabolites, as well as new and known compounds, and a diversity of non-enzymatic chemical transformation products (all too often dismissed as artefacts). Many of the technical and commercial challenges that confronted microbial biodiscovery late last century have been resolved. The need is great and the time is right to re-plumb microbial biodiscovery back into the drug discovery pipeline.
If invasive species use chemical weapons to suppress the viability of conspecifics, we may be able to exploit those species-specific chemical cues for selective control of the invader. Cane toads (Rhinella marina) are spreading through tropical Australia, with negative effects on native species. The tadpoles of cane toads eliminate intraspecific competitors by locating and consuming newly laid eggs. Our laboratory trials show that tadpoles find those eggs by searching for the powerful bufadienolide toxins (especially, bufogenins) that toads use to deter predators. Using those toxins as bait, funnel-traps placed in natural waterbodies achieved near-complete eradication of cane toad tadpoles with minimal collateral damage (because most native (non-target) species are repelled by the toads toxins). More generally, communication systems that have evolved for intraspecific conflict provide novel opportunities for invasive-species control.
Capsule polysaccharide is a major virulence factor for a wide range of bacterial pathogens, including Streptococcus pneumoniae. The biosynthesis of Wzy-dependent capsules in both gram-negative and -positive bacteria is regulated by a system involving a protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP) and a protein tyrosine kinase. However, how the system functions is still controversial. In Streptococcus pneumoniae, a major human pathogen, the system is present in all but 2 of the 93 serotypes found to date. In order to study this regulation further, we performed a screen to find inhibitors of the phosphatase, CpsB. This led to the observation that a recently discovered marine sponge metabolite, fascioquinol E, inhibited CpsB phosphatase activity both in vitro and in vivo at concentrations that did not affect the growth of the bacteria. This inhibition resulted in decreased capsule synthesis in D39 and Type 1 S. pneumoniae. Furthermore, concentrations of Fascioquinol E that inhibited capsule also lead to increased attachment of pneumococci to a macrophage cell line, suggesting that this compound would inhibit the virulence of the pathogen. Interestingly, this compound also inhibited the phosphatase activity of the structurally unrelated gram-negative PTP, Wzb, which belongs to separate family of protein tyrosine phosphatases. Furthermore, incubation with Klebsiella pneumoniae, which contains a homologous phosphatase, resulted in decreased capsule synthesis. Taken together, these data provide evidence that PTPs are critical for Wzy-dependent capsule production across a spectrum of bacteria, and as such represents a valuable new molecular target for the development of anti-virulence antibacterials.
Screening a library of Southern Australian and Antarctic marine invertebrates and algae for inhibitors of neurodegenerative disease kinase targets casein kinase 1 (CK1?), cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (CDK5) and glycogen synthase kinase 3? (GSK3?) identified a Western Australian Didemnum species (CMB-02127) as a high-priority specimen. Chemical fractionation returned the known aromatic alkaloids ningalins B-D as the major metabolites, together with six minor metabolites, the new ningalins E-G and the known hexacyclic pyrrole alkaloids lamellarins Z, G and A6. All structures were assigned by detailed spectroscopic analysis and literature comparisons, and the structural assignments were supported by biosynthetic considerations. The ningalins showed potent and broad inhibition across the three kinases, while the lamellarins were generally more selective for CDK5. Docking studies using published X-ray crystal structures of CDK5 revealed both scaffolds target the ATP binding pocket.
Chemical analysis of a Didemnum sp. (CMB-01656) collected during scientific Scuba operations off Wasp Island, New South Wales, yielded five new lamellarins A1 (1), A2 (2), A3 (3), A4 (4) and A5 (5) and eight known lamellarins C (6), E (7), K (8), M (9), S (10), T (11), X (12) and ? (13). Analysis of a second Didemnum sp. (CMB-02127) collected during scientific trawling operations along the Northern Rottnest Shelf, Western Australia, yielded the new lamellarin A6 (14) and two known lamellarins G (15) and Z (16). Structures were assigned to 1-16 on the basis of detailed spectroscopic analysis with comparison to literature data and authentic samples. Access to this unique library of natural lamellarins (1-16) provided a rare opportunity for structure-activity relationship (SAR) investigations, probing interactions between lamellarins and the ABC transporter efflux pump P-glycoprotein (P-gp) with a view to reversing multidrug resistance in a human colon cancer cell line (SW620 Ad300). These SAR studies, which were expanded to include the permethylated lamellarin derivative (17) and a series of lamellarin-inspired synthetic coumarins (19-24) and isoquinolines (25-26), successfully revealed 17 as a promising new non-cytotoxic P-gp inhibitor pharmacophore.
Fractionation of a southern Australian marine sponge, Ianthella sp., yielded sixteen metabolites including a new class of pyrrolidone, ianthellidones A-F (1-6), a new class of furanone, ianthellidones G-H (7-8), new and known lamellarins, lamellarins O1 (9), O2 (10), O (11) and Q (12), plus the known 4-hydroxybenzaldehyde (13), 4-hydroxybenzoic acid (14), 4-methoxybenzoic acid (15) and ethyl 4-hydroxybenzoate (16). Structures for all Ianthella metabolites were determined by detailed spectroscopic analysis, supported by a plausible biosynthetic relationship. The ianthellidones were non-cytotoxic towards two human colon cancer cell lines (SW620 and SW620 Ad300), as well as Gram +ve and Gram -ve bacteria, and a fungus. Ianthellidone F (6) and lamellarins O2 (10) and O (11) displayed modest BACE inhibitory properties (IC(50) > 10 ?M), while lamellarin O1 (9) was more potent (IC(50) < 10 ?M). Lamellarin O (11) exhibited modest cytotoxicity towards SW620 and SW620 Ad300 cell lines (IC(50) > 22 ?M), was an inhibitor of the multi-drug resistance efflux pump P-glycoprotein, and displayed selective growth inhibitory activity against the Gram +ve bacterium Bacillus subtilis (ATCC 6633) (IC(50) 2.5 ?M).
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