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1.  Ortho-quinone-enhanced ascorbate oxidation. Combined roles of lipid charge and the magnesium cation 
Quinones are widely distributed compounds in nature. Of these, ortho-quinones are found to be involved in the pathogenic mechanism of Parkinson’s disease, in oxidative deaminations to free-radical redox reactions, and as intermediates in the pathways implicated in the carcinogenicity of 2,3- and 3,4-catechol estrogens. Addition of MgCl2 to solutions of the hydrophobic ortho-quinones, 1,10-phenanthroquinone (PHQ) and beta-lapachone (LQ) enhances ascorbate oxidation in the absence or presence of large unilamellar vesicles (LUVs) of the neutral lipid dimyristoylphos-phatidylcholine (DMPC), although initial rates of ascorbate oxidation are smaller in the presence of lipid as compared to its absence. Addition of this salt to solutions of the para-quinone 1,4-naphthoquinone (NQ) did not affect the ascorbate rate of oxidation in the absence or presence of DMPC. Addition of MgCl2 to semiquinone solutions of PHQ or LQ in the presence or absence of DMPC increases semiquinone stability, as detected from the semiquinone disproportionation equilibrium displacement to semiquinone formation. Furthermore, MgCl2 increases the partition of the ortho-semiquinones into the aqueous phase, although no such effect is observed for the semiquinone of NQ. For all the quinones under study, smaller rates of ascorbate oxidation and of semiquinone equilibrium concentration occur in the presence of negatively charged LUVs composed of an equimolar mixture of DMPC and dimyristoylphosphatidic acid DMPA. Ascorbate oxidation rate enhancements correlate with an increase in semiquinone concentration with addition of MgCl2, in the absence or presence of neutral lipid. This observation favors the proposition that ascorbate oxidation rate increases are caused by semiquinone thermodynamic stabilization. Thus, the ascorbate oxidation rate enhancement by MgCl2 in solutions containing hydrophobic ortho-quinones is still possible in systems with hydrophobic environments analogous to that of DMPC.
doi:10.1080/02772240701499778
PMCID: PMC2790193  PMID: 20011675
Ortho-quinone; semiquinone; magnesium; DMPC; membrane; ascorbate; DMPA; beta-lapachone; phenanthroquinone; naphthoquinone
2.  Comparison of estrogen-derived ortho-quinone and para-quinol concerning induction of oxidative stress 
Ortho-quinones formed from catechol estrogens are considered prooxidants due to the production of superoxide radical anions through redox cycling via semiquinones. Para-quinols have been identified as novel metabolites of and as the major products of hydroxyl-radical scavenging by estrogens. Cycling of these compounds has also been discovered, because they are converted back to the parent estrogen via reductive aromatization in vitro and in vivo. We hypothesized that, unlike ortho-quinones, para-quinols do not induce oxidative stress due to this cycling. Like the estrogen itself, the 17β-estradiol-derived para-quinol (10β,17β-dihydroxyestra-1,4-diene-3-one) did not induce oxidative stress, as the rate of hydrogen peroxide production during the incubations of the compounds in various tissue homogenates was not significantly different from that of the control experiments performed without the addition of a test compound. We also confirmed that the estrogen metabolite estra-1,5(10)-dien-3,4,17-trione (estrone 3,4-quinone) was a profound prooxidant due to redox cycling, especially in uterine tissue. Therefore, we concluded that para-quinols do not induce oxidative stress.
doi:10.1016/j.jsbmb.2006.11.025
PMCID: PMC2752863  PMID: 17582759
3.  Modulatory effects of Tabebuia impetiginosa (Lamiales, Bignoniaceae) on doxorubicin-induced somatic mutation and recombination in Drosophila melanogaster 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2009;32(2):382-388.
The wing Somatic Mutation and Recombination Test (SMART) in D. melanogaster was used to study genotoxicity of the medicinal plant Tabebuia impetiginosa. Lapachol (naphthoquinone) and β-lapachone (quinone) are the two main chemical constituents of T. impetiginosa. These compounds have several biological properties. They induce apoptosis by generating oxygen-reactive species, thereby inhibiting topoisomerases (I and II) or inducing other enzymes dependent on NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1, thus affecting cell cycle checkpoints. The SMART was used in the standard (ST) version, which has normal levels of cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes, to check the direct action of this compound, and in the high bioactivation (HB) version, which has a high constitutive level of CYP enzymes, to check for indirect action in three different T. impetiginosa concentrations (10%, 20% or 40% w/w). It was observed that T. impetiginosa alone did not modify the spontaneous frequencies of mutant spots in either cross. The negative results observed prompted us to study this phytotherapeuticum in association with the reference mutagen doxorubicin (DXR). In co-treated series, T. impetiginosa was toxic in both crosses at higher concentration, whereas in the HB cross, it induced a considerable potentiating effect (from ~24.0 to ~95.0%) on DXR genotoxity. Therefore, further research is needed to determine the possible risks associated with the exposure of living organisms to this complex mixture.
doi:10.1590/S1415-47572009005000042
PMCID: PMC3036921  PMID: 21637695
genotoxicity; synergistic effect; somatic mutation and recombination test - SMART; toxicity; wing spot test
4.  DNA cleavage by hydroxy-salicylidene-ethylendiamine-iron complexes. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1999;27(21):4160-4166.
Bis(hydroxy)salen.Fe complexes were designed as self-activated chemical nucleases. The presence of a hy-droxyl group on the two salicylidene moieties serve to form a hydroquinone system cooperating with the iron redox system to facilitate spontaneous formation of free radicals. We compared the DNA binding and cleaving properties of the ortho -, meta- and para -(bishydroxy) salen.Fe complexes with that of the corresponding chelate lacking the hydroxyl groups. DNA melting temperature studies indicated that the para complex exhibits the highest affinity for DNA. In addition, this para compound was considerably more potent at cleaving supercoiled plasmid DNA than the regio-isomeric ortho - and meta -hydroxy-salen.Fe complexes, even in the absence of a reducing agent, such as dithiothreitol used to activate the metal complex. The DNA cleaving activity of the para isomer is both time and concentration dependent and the complexed iron atom is absolutely essential for the sequence uniform cleavage of DNA. From a mechanistic point of view, electron spin resonance measurements suggest that DNA contributes positively to the activation of the semi-quinone system and the production of ligand radical species responsible for subsequent strand scission in the absence of a reducing agent. The para -hydroxy-salen.Fe complex has been used for detecting sequence-specific drug-DNA interactions. Specific binding of Hoechst 33258 to AT sequences and chromomycin to GC sequences were shown. The para -bis(hydroxy)salen.Fe derivative complements the tool box of footprinting reagents which can be utilised to produce efficient cleavage of DNA.
PMCID: PMC148689  PMID: 10518606
5.  Oxygen-Insensitive Nitroreductases NfsA and NfsB of Escherichia coli Function under Anaerobic Conditions as Lawsone-Dependent Azo Reductases 
Quinones can function as redox mediators in the unspecific anaerobic reduction of azo compounds by various bacterial species. These quinones are enzymatically reduced by the bacteria and the resulting hydroquinones then reduce in a purely chemical redox reaction the azo compounds outside of the cells. Recently, it has been demonstrated that the addition of lawsone (2-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone) to anaerobically incubated cells of Escherichia coli resulted in a pronounced increase in the reduction rates of different sulfonated and polymeric azo compounds. In the present study it was attempted to identify the enzyme system(s) responsible for the reduction of lawsone by E. coli and thus for the lawsone-dependent anaerobic azo reductase activity. An NADH-dependent lawsone reductase activity was found in the cytosolic fraction of the cells. The enzyme was purified by column chromatography and the amino-terminal amino acid sequence of the protein was determined. The sequence obtained was identical to the sequence of an oxygen-insensitive nitroreductase (NfsB) described earlier from this organism. Subsequent biochemical tests with the purified lawsone reductase activity confirmed that the lawsone reductase activity detected was identical with NfsB. In addition it was proven that also a second oxygen-insensitive nitroreductase of E. coli (NfsA) is able to reduce lawsone and thus to function under adequate conditions as quinone-dependent azo reductase.
doi:10.1128/AEM.69.6.3448-3455.2003
PMCID: PMC161523  PMID: 12788749
6.  Identification and Characterization of 3-Substituted Pyrazolyl Esters as Alternate Substrates for Cathepsin B. The Confounding Effects of DTT and Cysteine in Biological Assays 
Substituted pyrazole esters were identified as hits in a high throughput screen (HTS) of the NIH Molecular Libraries Small Molecule Repository (MLSMR) to identify inhibitors of the enzyme cathepsin B. Members of this class, along with functional group analogs, were synthesized in an effort to define the structural requirements for activity. Analog characterization was hampered by the need to include a reducing agent such as dithiothreitol (DTT) or cysteine in the assay, highlighting the caution required in interpreting biological data gathered in the presence of such nucleophiles. Despite the confounding effects of DTT and cysteine, our studies demonstrate that the pyrazole 1 acts as alternate substrate for cathepsin B, rather than as an inhibitor.
doi:10.1016/j.bmcl.2007.06.091
PMCID: PMC2041802  PMID: 17656088
7.  Tabebuia avellanedae naphthoquinones: activity against methicillin-resistant staphylococcal strains, cytotoxic activity and in vivo dermal irritability analysis 
Background
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and coagulase-negative staphylococcus infections are a worldwide concern. Currently, these isolates have also shown resistance to vancomycin, the last therapy used in these cases. It has been observed that quinones and other related compounds exhibit antibacterial activity. This study evaluated the antibacterial activity, toxicity and in vivo dermal irritability of lapachol extracted from Tabebuia avellanedae and derivatives against methicillin-resistant staphylococcal isolates. In addition, its mechanism of action was also analyzed.
Methods
The compounds β-lapachone, 3-hydroxy β N lapachone and α-lapachone were tested to determine the MIC values against methicillin-resistant S. aureus, S. epidermidis and S. haemolyticus strains, being the two last ones hetero-resistant to vancomycin. Experiments of protein synthesis analysis to investigate the naphthoquinones action were assessed. In vitro toxicity to eukaryotic BSC-40 African Green Monkey Kidney cell cultures and in vivo primary dermal irritability in healthy rabbits were also performed.
Results
The compounds tested showed antibacterial activity (MICs of 8, 4/8 and 64/128 μg/mL to β-lapachone, 3-hydroxy β N lapachone and α-lapachone, respectively), but no bactericidal activity was observed (MBC > 512 μg/mL for all compounds). Although it has been observed toxic effect in eukaryotic cells, the compounds were shown to be atoxic when applied as topic preparations in healthy rabbits. No inhibition of proteins synthesis was observed.
Conclusion
Our results suggest that quinones could be used in topic preparations against wound infections caused by staphylococci, after major investigation of the pharmacological properties of the compounds. Studies about the use of these compounds on tumoral cells could be carried on, due to their effect in eukaryotic cells metabolism.
doi:10.1186/1476-0711-5-5
PMCID: PMC1435768  PMID: 16553949
8.  N-(1,4-Dioxo-1,4-dihydro­naphthalen-2-yl)benzamide 
The title compound, C17H11NO3, was an inter­mediate synthesized during bis­acyl­ation of 2-amino-1,4-naphtho­quinone with benzoyl chloride. A mixture of block- and needle-shaped crystals were obtained after column chromatography. The block-shaped crystals were identified as the imide and the needles were the title amide. The naphtho­quinone scaffold is roughly planar (r.m.s. deviation = 0.047 Å for the C atoms). The N—H and C=O bonds of the amide group are anti to each other. A dihedral angle between the naphtho­quinone ring system and the amide group of 3.56 (3)°, accompanied by a dihedral angle between the amide group and the phenyl group of 9.51 (3)°, makes the naphtho­quinone ring essentially coplanar with the phenyl ring [dihedral angle = 7.12 (1)°]. In the crystal, molecules are linked by a weak N—H⋯O hydrogen bond and by two weak C—H⋯O interactions leading to the formation of zigzag chains along [010].
doi:10.1107/S1600536812034150
PMCID: PMC3435808  PMID: 22969654
9.  On dithiothreitol (DTT) as a measure of oxidative potential for ambient particles: evidence for the importance of soluble transition metals 
The rate of consumption of dithiothreitol (DTT) is increasingly used to measure the oxidative potential of particulate matter (PM), which has been linked to the adverse health effects of PM. While several quinones are known to be very reactive in the DTT assay, it is unclear what other chemical species might contribute to the loss of DTT in PM extracts. To address this question, we quantify the rate of DTT loss from individual redox-active species that are common in ambient particulate matter. While most past research has indicated that the DTT assay is not sensitive to metals, our results show that seven out of the ten transition metals tested do oxidize DTT, as do three out of the five quinones tested. While metals are less efficient at oxidizing DTT compared to the most reactive quinones, concentrations of soluble transition metals in fine particulate matter are generally much higher than those of quinones. The net result is that metals appear to dominate the DTT response for typical ambient PM2.5 samples. Based on particulate concentrations of quinones and soluble metals from the literature, and our measured DTT responses for these species, we estimate that for typical PM2.5 samples approximately 80 % of DTT loss is from transition metals (especially copper and manganese), while quinones account for approximately 20 %. We find a similar result for DTT loss measured in a small set of PM2.5 samples from the San Joaquin Valley of California. Because of the important contribution from metals, we also tested how the DTT assay is affected by EDTA, a chelator that is sometimes used in the assay. EDTA significantly suppresses the response from both metals and quinones; we therefore recommend that EDTA should not be included in the DTT assay.
doi:10.5194/acpd-12-11317-2012
PMCID: PMC3564657  PMID: 23393494
10.  Autoxidation of extracellular hydroquinones is a causative event for the cytotoxicity of menadione and DMNQ in A549-S cells 
Cytotoxicity of 1,4-naphthoquinones has been attributed to intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation through one-electron-reductase-mediated redox cycling and to arylation of cellular nucleophiles. Here, however, we report that in a subclone of lung epithelial A549 cells (A549-S previously called A549-G4S (Watanabe, et al., Am. J. Physiol. 283 (2002) L726–736), the mechanism of ROS generation by menadione and by 2,3-dimethoxy-1,4-naphthoquinone (DMNQ), and therefore that of cytotoxicity, differs from the paradigm. Ninety percent of H2O2 generation by both the quinones can be prevented by dicumarol, an inhibitor of NAD(P)H quinone oxidoreductase (NQO1), at the submicromolar level, regardless of the quinone concentrations. Exogenous SOD also inhibits H2O2 production at low but not high concentrations of the quinones, especially DMNQ. Thus, at low quinone concentrations, superoxide-driven hydroquinone autoxidation accounts for more than half of H2O2 generation by both quinones, whereas at high quinone concentrations, especially for DMNQ, comproportionation-driven hydroquinone autoxidation becomes the predominant mechanism. Hydroquinone autoxidation appears to occur predominantly in the extracellular environment than in the cytosol as extracellular catalase can dramatically attenuate quinone-induced cytotoxicity throughout the range of quinone concentrations, whereas complete inactivation of endogenous catalase or complete depletion of intracellular glutathione has only a marginal effect on their cytotoxicity. Finally, we show evidence that ROS production is a consequence of the compensatory defensive role of NQO1 against quinone arylation.
PMCID: PMC2795776  PMID: 12590933
DT-diaphorase; A549; Oxidative stress; Quinone; Catalase; Superoxide dismutase
11.  Design and Synthesis of Novel Quinone Inhibitors Targeted to the Redox Function of Apurinic/Apyrimidinic Endonuclease 1/Redox Enhancing Factor-1 (Ape1/Ref-1) 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2010;53(3):1200-1210.
The multifunctional enzyme apurinic endonuclease 1/redox enhancing factor 1 (Ape1/Ref-1) maintains genetic fidelity through the repair of apurinic sites and regulates transcription through redox-dependent activation of transcription factors. Ape1 can therefore serve as a therapeutic target in either a DNA repair or transcriptional context. Inhibitors of the redox function can be used as either therapeutics or novel tools for separating the two functions for in vitro study. Presently there exist only a few compounds that have been reported to inhibit Ape1 redox activity; here we describe a series of quinones that exhibit micromolar inhibition of the redox function of Ape1. Benzoquinone and naphthoquinone analogs of the Ape1-inhibitor E3330 were designed and synthesized to explore structural effects on redox function and inhibition of cell growth. Most of the naphthoquinones were low micromolar inhibitors of Ape1 redox activity, and the most potent analogs inhibited tumor cell growth with IC50 values in the 10–20 micromolar range.
doi:10.1021/jm9014857
PMCID: PMC2834202  PMID: 20067291
12.  The Tumor-Selective Cytotoxic Agent β-Lapachone is a Potent Inhibitor of IDO1 
β-lapachone is a naturally occurring 1,2-naphthoquinone-based compound that has been advanced into clinical trials based on its tumor-selective cytotoxic properties. Previously, we focused on the related 1,4-naphthoquinone pharmacophore as a basic core structure for developing a series of potent indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) enzyme inhibitors. In this study, we identified IDO1 inhibitory activity as a previously unrecognized attribute of the clinical candidate β-lapachone. Enzyme kinetics-based analysis of β-lapachone indicated an uncompetitive mode of inhibition, while computational modeling predicted binding within the IDO1 active site consistent with other naphthoquinone derivatives. Inhibition of IDO1 has previously been shown to breach the pathogenic tolerization that constrains the immune system from being able to mount an effective anti-tumor response. Thus, the finding that β-lapachone has IDO1 inhibitory activity adds a new dimension to its potential utility as an anti-cancer agent distinct from its cytotoxic properties, and suggests that a synergistic benefit can be achieved from its combined cytotoxic and immunologic effects.
doi:10.4137/IJTR.S12094
PMCID: PMC3762611  PMID: 24023520
indoleamine 2; 3-dioxygenase; IDO; beta-lapachone; naphthoquinone; inhibitor; cancer; immunotherapy; tryptophan
13.  The identification of inhibitors of Schistosoma mansoni miracidial transformation by incorporating a medium-throughput small-molecule screen 
Experimental parasitology  2010;125(2):84-94.
In Schistosoma mansoni, the miracidium-to-primary sporocyst transformation process is associated with many physiological, morphological, transcriptional and biochemical changes. In the present study we use a medium-throughput small molecule screen to identify chemical compounds inhibiting or delaying the in vitro transformation of miracidia to the sporocyst stage. The Sigma-Aldrich Library of Pharmacologically Active Compounds (LOPAC) contains 1,280 well-characterized chemical compounds with various modes of action including enzyme inhibitors, antibiotics, cell-cycle regulators, apoptosis inducers and GPCR ligands. We identified 47 compounds that greatly reduce or delay this transformation process during a primary screen of live miracidia. The majority of compounds inhibiting larval transformation were from dopaminergic, serotonergic, ion channel and phosphorylation classes. Specifically, we found that dopamine D2-type antagonists, serotonin reuptake inhibitors, voltage-gated calcium channel antagonists and a PKC activator significantly reduced in vitro miracidial transformation rates. Many of the targets of these compounds regulate adenylyl cyclase activity, with the inhibition or activation of these targets resulting in increased cAMP levels in miracidia and concomitant blocking/delaying of larval transformation.
doi:10.1016/j.exppara.2009.12.021
PMCID: PMC2859107  PMID: 20060828
Schistosoma mansoni; miracidia; sporocyst; transformation; drug screen; adenylyl cyclase; cAMP
14.  Improved Tricyclic Inhibitors of Trypanothione Reductase by Screening and Chemical Synthesis 
Chemmedchem  2009;4(8):1333-1340.
Trypanothione reductase (TryR) is a key validated enzyme in the trypanothione-based redox metabolism of pathogenic trypanosomes and leishmania parasites. This system is absent in humans, being replaced with glutathione and glutathione reductase, and as such offers a target for selective inhibition. As part of a program to discover antiparasitic drugs, the LOPAC1280 library of 1266 compounds was screened against TryR and the top hits evaluated against glutathione reductase and T. brucei parasites. The top hits included a number of known tricyclic neuroleptic drugs along with other new scaffolds for TryR. Three novel druglike hits were identified and SAR studies on one of these using information from the tricyclic neuroleptic agents led to the discovery of a competitive inhibitor (Ki=330 nm) with an improved potency against T. brucei (EC50=775 nm).
doi:10.1002/cmdc.200900097
PMCID: PMC2929371  PMID: 19557801
drug discovery; inhibitors; oxidoreductases; trypanosoma brucei; trypanothione reductase
15.  Identification of a κ-opioid agonist as a potent and selective lead for drug development against human African trypanosomiasis 
Biochemical Pharmacology  2010;80(10):1478-1486.
Graphical abstract
Phenotypic screening of the LOPAC library identified several potent and selective inhibitors of African trypanosomes. The κ-opioid agonist (+)-U50,488 represents a novel lead for drug discovery against sleeping sickness.
A resazurin-based cell viability assay was developed for phenotypic screening of the LOPAC 1280 ‘library of pharmacologically active compounds’ against bloodstream forms of Trypanosoma brucei in vitro identifying 33 compounds with EC50 values <1 μM. Counter-screening vs. normal diploid human fibroblasts (MRC5 cells) was used to rank these hits for selectivity, with the most potent (<70 nM) and selective (>700-fold) compounds being suramin and pentamidine. These are well-known antitrypanosomal drugs which demonstrate the robustness of the resazurin cell viability assay. The most selective novel inhibitor was (+)-trans-(1R,2R)-U50,488 having an EC50 value of 60 nM against T. brucei and 270-fold selectivity over human fibroblasts. Interestingly, (−)-U50,488, a known CNS-active κ-opioid receptor agonist and other structurally related compounds were >70-fold less active or inactive, as were several μ- and κ-opioid antagonists. Although (+)-U50,488 was well tolerated by the oral route and displayed good pharmaceutical properties, including high brain penetration, the compound was not curative in the mouse model of infection. Nonetheless, the divergence of antinociceptive and antitrypanosomal activity represents a promising start point for further exploratory chemistry. Bioinformatic studies did not reveal any obvious candidate opioid receptors and the target of this cytostatic compound is unknown. Among the other potent, but less selective screening hits were compound classes with activity against protein kinases, topoisomerases, tubulin, as well as DNA and energy metabolism.
doi:10.1016/j.bcp.2010.07.038
PMCID: PMC3025325  PMID: 20696141
Phenotypic screening; African trypanosomiasis; Target identification; Target validation; U50,488
16.  High throughput identification of promiscuous inhibitors from screening libraries with the use of a thiol-containing fluorescent probe 
Journal of biomolecular screening  2013;18(6):705-713.
Testing small molecules for their ability to modify cysteine residues of proteins in the early stages of drug discovery is expected to accelerate our ability to develop more selective drugs with lesser side effects. In addition, this approach also enables the rapid evaluation of the mode of binding of new drug candidates in respect to thiol-reactivity and metabolism by glutathione. Herein, we describe the development of a fluorescence-based high throughput assay that allows the identification of thiol-reactive compounds. A thiol-containing fluorescent probe MSTI was synthesized and used to evaluate small molecules from the LOPAC collection of bioactive molecules. LOPAC compounds that are known to react with sulfur nucleophiles were identified with this assay, for example, irreversible protease inhibitors, nitric oxide releasing compounds, and proton-pump inhibitors. The results confirm that both electrophilic and redox reactive compounds can be quickly identified in a high throughput manner enabling the assessment of screening libraries in respect to thiol-reactive compounds.
doi:10.1177/1087057113476090
PMCID: PMC3692575  PMID: 23446699
Promiscuous inhibitors; glutathione; fluorescence; high throughput screening; thiol-reactive or electrophilic compound
17.  Genotoxicity of 1,4-benzoquinone and 1,4-naphthoquinone in relation to effects on glutathione and NAD(P)H levels in V79 cells. 
1,4-Benzoquinone is cytotoxic in V79 Chinese hamster cells and induces gene mutations and micronuclei. The cell-damaging effects of quinones are usually attributed to thiol depletion, oxidation of NAD(P)H, and redox-cycling involving the formation of semiquinone radicals and reactive oxygen species. To elucidate the role of these mechanisms in the genotoxicity of 1,4-benzoquinone, we measured various genotoxic effects, cytotoxicity, and the levels of glutathione, NADPH, NADH, and their oxidized forms all in the same experiment. 1,4-Naphthoquinone, which does not induce gene mutations in V79 cells, was investigated for comparative reasons. The quinones had a similar effect on the levels of cofactors. Total glutathione was depleted, but levels of oxidized glutathione were slightly increased. The levels of NADPH and NADH were reduced at high concentrations of the quinones with a simultaneous increase in the levels of NADP+ and NAD+. Both compounds induced micronuclei, but neither increased the frequency of sister chromatid exchange. Only 1,4-benzoquinone induced gene mutations. This effect was observed at low concentrations, where none of the other parameters studied was affected. When the cells were depleted of glutathione prior to treatment with the quinones, the induction of gene mutations and micronuclei remained virtually unchanged. We conclude that a) induction of micronuclei and glutathione depletion by the two quinones are not linked causally, b) 1,4-benzoquinone induces gene mutations by a mechanism different from oxidative stress and glutathione depletion, and c) glutathione does not fully protect the cells against the genotoxicity of quinones.
PMCID: PMC1568126  PMID: 2792044
18.  2-Bromo-1,4-naphthoquinone: a potentially improved substitute of menadione in Apatone™ therapy 
Apatone™, a combination of menadione (2-methyl-1,4-naphthoquinone, VK3) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C, VC) is a new strategy for cancer treatment. Part of its effect on tumor cells is related to the cellular pro-oxidative imbalance provoked by the generation of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) through naphthoquinone redox cycling. In this study, we attempted to find new naphthoquinone derivatives that would increase the efficiency of H2O2 production, thereby potentially increasing its efficacy for cancer treatment. The presence of an electron-withdrawing group in the naphthoquinone moiety had a direct effect on the efficiency of H2O2 production. The compound 2-bromo-1,4-naphthoquinone (BrQ), in which the bromine atom substituted the methyl group in VK3, was approximately 10- and 19-fold more efficient than VK3 in terms of oxygen consumption and H2O2 production, respectively. The ratio [H2O2]produced / [naphthoquinone]consumed was 68 ± 11 and 5.8 ± 0.2 (µM/µM) for BrQ and VK3, respectively, indicating a higher efficacy of BrQ as a catalyst for the autoxidation of ascorbic acid. Both VK3 and BrQ reacted with glutathione (GSH), but BrQ was the more effective substrate. Part of GSH was incorporated into the naphthoquinone, producing a nucleophilic substitution product (Q-SG). The depletion of BrQ by GSH did not prevent its redox capacity since Q-SG was also able to catalyze the production of reactive oxygen species. VK3/VC has already been submitted to clinical trials for the treatment of prostate cancer and has demonstrated promising results. However, replacement of VK3 with BrQ will open new lines of investigation regarding this approach to cancer treatment.
doi:10.1590/S0100-879X2012007500078
PMCID: PMC3854242  PMID: 22584645
Cancer; Apatone™; Ascorbic acid; Hydrogen peroxide; 2-Bromo-1,4-naphthoquinone
19.  Development of a 384-Well Colorimetric Assay to Quantify Hydrogen Peroxide Generated by the Redox Cycling of Compounds in the Presence of Reducing Agents 
We report here the development and optimization of a simple 384-well colorimetric assay to measure H2O2 generated by the redox cycling of compounds incubated with reducing agents in high-throughput screening (HTS) assay buffers. The phenol red-horseradish peroxidase (HRP) assay readily detected H2O2 either added exogenously or generated by the redox cycling of compounds in dithiothreitol (DTT). The generation of H2O2 was dependent on the concentration of both the compound and DTT and was abolished by catalase. Although both DTT and tris(2-carboxyethyl)-phosphine sustain the redox cycling generation of H2O2 by a model quinolinedione, 6-chloro-7-(2-morpholin-4-yl-ethylamino)-quinoline-5,8-dione (NSC 663284; DA3003-1), other reducing agents such as β-mercaptoethanol, glutathione, and cysteine do not. The assay is compatible with HTS. Once terminated, the assay signal was stable for at least 5 h, allowing for a reasonable throughput. The assay tolerated up to 20% dimethyl sulfoxide, allowing a wide range of compound concentrations to be tested. The assay signal window was robust and reproducible with average Z-factors of ≥0.8, and the redox cycling generation of H2O2 by DA3003-1 in DTT exhibited an average 50% effective concentration of 0.830 ± 0.068 μM. Five of the mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase (MKP) 1 inhibitors identified in an HTS were shown to generate H2O2 in the presence of DTT, and their inhibition of MKP-1 activity was shown to be time dependent and was abolished or significantly reduced by either 100 U of catalase or by higher DTT levels. A cross-target query of the PubChem database with three structurally related pyrimidotriazinediones revealed active flags in 36–39% of the primary screening assays. Activity was confirmed against a number of targets containing active site cysteines, including protein tyrosine phosphatases, cathepsins, and caspases, as well as a number of cellular cytotoxicity assays. Rather than utilize resources to conduct a hit characterization effort involving several secondary assays, the phenol red-HRP assay provides a simple, rapid, sensitive, and inexpensive method to identify compounds that redox cycle in DTT or tris(2-carboxyethyl)phosphine to produce H2O2 that may indirectly modulate target activity and represent promiscuous false-positives from a primary screen.
doi:10.1089/adt.2008.151
PMCID: PMC2752819  PMID: 18699726
20.  Development of a 384-Well Colorimetric Assay to Quantify Hydrogen Peroxide Generated by the Redox Cycling of Compounds in the Presence of Reducing Agents 
Abstract
We report here the development and optimization of a simple 384-well colorimetric assay to measure H2O2 generated by the redox cycling of compounds incubated with reducing agents in high-throughput screening (HTS) assay buffers. The phenol red-horseradish peroxidase (HRP) assay readily detected H2O2 either added exogenously or generated by the redox cycling of compounds in dithiothreitol (DTT). The generation of H2O2 was dependent on the concentration of both the compound and DTT and was abolished by catalase. Although both DTT and tris(2-carboxyethyl)-phosphine sustain the redox cycling generation of H2O2 by a model quinolinedione, 6-chloro-7-(2-morpholin-4-yl-ethylamino)-quinoline-5,8-dione (NSC 663284; DA3003-1), other reducing agents such as β-mercaptoethanol, glutathione, and cysteine do not. The assay is compatible with HTS. Once terminated, the assay signal was stable for at least 5 h, allowing for a reasonable throughput. The assay tolerated up to 20% dimethyl sulfoxide, allowing a wide range of compound concentrations to be tested. The assay signal window was robust and reproducible with average Z-factors of ≥0.8, and the redox cycling generation of H2O2 by DA3003-1 in DTT exhibited an average 50% effective concentration of 0.830 μ 0.068 μM. Five of the mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase (MKP) 1 inhibitors identified in an HTS were shown to generate H2O2 in the presence of DTT, and their inhibition of MKP-1 activity was shown to be time dependent and was abolished or significantly reduced by either 100 U of catalase or by higher DTT levels. A cross-target query of the PubChem database with three structurally related pyrimidotriazinediones revealed active flags in 36–39% of the primary screening assays. Activity was confirmed against a number of targets containing active site cysteines, including protein tyrosine phosphatases, cathepsins, and caspases, as well as a number of cellular cytotoxicity assays. Rather than utilize resources to conduct a hit characterization effort involving several secondary assays, the phenol red-HRP assay provides a simple, rapid, sensitive, and inexpensive method to identify compounds that redox cycle in DTT or tris(2-carboxyethyl)phosphine to produce H2O2 that may indirectly modulate target activity and represent promiscuous false-positives from a primary screen.
doi:10.1089/adt.2008.151
PMCID: PMC2752819  PMID: 18699726
21.  An NADH:Quinone Oxidoreductase Active during Biodegradation by the Brown-Rot Basidiomycete Gloeophyllum trabeum 
The brown-rot basidiomycete Gloeophyllum trabeum uses a quinone redox cycle to generate extracellular Fenton reagent, a key component of the biodegradative system expressed by this highly destructive wood decay fungus. The hitherto uncharacterized quinone reductase that drives this cycle is a potential target for inhibitors of wood decay. We have identified the major quinone reductase expressed by G. trabeum under conditions that elicit high levels of quinone redox cycling. The enzyme comprises two identical 22-kDa subunits, each with one molecule of flavin mononucleotide. It is specific for NADH as the reductant and uses the quinones produced by G. trabeum (2,5-dimethoxy-1,4-benzoquinone and 4,5-dimethoxy-1,2-benzoquinone) as electron acceptors. The affinity of the reductase for these quinones is so high that precise kinetic parameters were not obtainable, but it is clear that kcat/Km for the quinones is greater than 108 M−1 s−1. The reductase is encoded by a gene with substantial similarity to NAD(P)H:quinone reductase genes from other fungi. The G. trabeum quinone reductase may function in quinone detoxification, a role often proposed for these enzymes, but we hypothesize that the fungus has recruited it to drive extracellular oxyradical production.
doi:10.1128/AEM.68.6.2699-2703.2002
PMCID: PMC123910  PMID: 12039722
22.  Complete Phenotypic Recovery of an Alzheimer's Disease Model by a Quinone-Tryptophan Hybrid Aggregation Inhibitor 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(6):e11101.
The rational design of amyloid oligomer inhibitors is yet an unmet drug development need. Previous studies have identified the role of tryptophan in amyloid recognition, association and inhibition. Furthermore, tryptophan was ranked as the residue with highest amyloidogenic propensity. Other studies have demonstrated that quinones, specifically anthraquinones, can serve as aggregation inhibitors probably due to the dipole interaction of the quinonic ring with aromatic recognition sites within the amyloidogenic proteins. Here, using in vitro, in vivo and in silico tools we describe the synthesis and functional characterization of a rationally designed inhibitor of the Alzheimer's disease-associated β-amyloid. This compound, 1,4-naphthoquinon-2-yl-L-tryptophan (NQTrp), combines the recognition capacities of both quinone and tryptophan moieties and completely inhibited Aβ oligomerization and fibrillization, as well as the cytotoxic effect of Aβ oligomers towards cultured neuronal cell line. Furthermore, when fed to transgenic Alzheimer's disease Drosophila model it prolonged their life span and completely abolished their defective locomotion. Analysis of the brains of these flies showed a significant reduction in oligomeric species of Aβ while immuno-staining of the 3rd instar larval brains showed a significant reduction in Aβ accumulation. Computational studies, as well as NMR and CD spectroscopy provide mechanistic insight into the activity of the compound which is most likely mediated by clamping of the aromatic recognition interface in the central segment of Aβ. Our results demonstrate that interfering with the aromatic core of amyloidogenic peptides is a promising approach for inhibiting various pathogenic species associated with amyloidogenic diseases. The compound NQTrp can serve as a lead for developing a new class of disease modifying drugs for Alzheimer's disease.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011101
PMCID: PMC2885425  PMID: 20559435
23.  Parallel Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of 837 Analogues of Procaspase-Activating Compound 1 (PAC-1) 
ACS Combinatorial Science  2011;14(1):44-50.
Procaspase-Activating Compound 1 (PAC-1) is an ortho-hydroxy N-acyl hydrazone that enhances the enzymatic activity of procaspase-3 in vitro and induces apoptosis in cancer cells. An analogue of PAC-1, called S-PAC-1, was evaluated in a veterinary clinical trial in pet dogs with lymphoma and found to have considerable potential as an anticancer agent. With the goal of identifying more potent compounds in this promising class of experimental therapeutics, a combinatorial library based on PAC-1 was created, and the compounds were evaluated for their ability to induce death of cancer cells in culture. For library construction, 31 hydrazides were condensed in parallel with 27 aldehydes to create 837 PAC-1 analogues, with an average purity of 91%. The compounds were evaluated for their ability to induce apoptosis in cancer cells, and through this work, six compounds were discovered to be substantially more potent than PAC-1 and S-PAC-1. These six hits were further evaluated for their ability to relieve zinc-mediated inhibition of procaspase-3 in vitro. In general, the newly identified hit compounds are two- to four-fold more potent than PAC-1 and S-PAC-1 in cell culture, and thus have promise as experimental therapeutics for treatment of the many cancers that have elevated expression levels of procaspase-3.
doi:10.1021/co2001372
PMCID: PMC3253983  PMID: 22007686
cancer; apoptosis; procaspase-3; zinc; anticancer compounds
24.  Bioluminescence-Based High-Throughput Screen Identifies Pharmacological Agents That Target Neurotransmitter Signaling in Small Cell Lung Carcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e24132.
Background
Frontline treatment of small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) relies heavily on chemotherapeutic agents and radiation therapy. Though SCLC patients respond well to initial cycles of chemotherapy, they eventually develop resistance. Identification of novel therapies against SCLC is therefore imperative.
Methods and Findings
We have designed a bioluminescence-based cell viability assay for high-throughput screening of anti-SCLC agents. The assay was first validated via standard pharmacological agents and RNA interference using two human SCLC cell lines. We then utilized the assay in a high-throughput screen using the LOPAC1280 compound library. The screening identified several drugs that target classic cancer signaling pathways as well as neuroendocrine markers in SCLC. In particular, perturbation of dopaminergic and serotonergic signaling inhibits SCLC cell viability.
Conclusions
The convergence of our pharmacological data with key SCLC pathway components reiterates the importance of neurotransmitter signaling in SCLC etiology and points to possible leads for drug development.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0024132
PMCID: PMC3169587  PMID: 21931655
25.  Quinone-Enhanced Reduction of Nitric Oxide by Xanthine/Xanthine Oxidase 
Chemical research in toxicology  2009;22(5):818-823.
The quinones 1,4-naphthoquinone, methyl-1,4-naphthoquinone, tetramethyl-1,4-benzoquinone, 2,3-dimethoxy-5-methyl-1,4-benzoquinone, 2,6-dimethylbenzoquinone, 2,6-dimethoxybenzoquinone, and 9,10-phenanthraquinone enhance the rate of nitric oxide reduction by xanthine/xanthine oxidase in nitrogen-saturated phosphate buffer (pH 7.4). Maximum initial rates of NO reduction (Vmax) and the amount of nitrous oxide produced after 5 min of reaction increase with quinone one- and two-electron redox potentials measured in acetonitrile. One of the most active quinones of those studied is 9,10-phenanthraquinone with a Vmax value 10 times larger than that corresponding to the absence of quinone, under the conditions of this work. Because NO production is enhanced under hypoxia and under certain pathological conditions, the observations obtained in this work are very relevant to such conditions.
doi:10.1021/tx800392j
PMCID: PMC2753477  PMID: 19301825

Results 1-25 (296315)