Cytochromes P450 (P450s) and glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) constitute two important enzyme families involved in carcinogen metabolism. Generally, P450s play activation or detoxifying roles while GSTs act primarily as detoxifying enzymes. We previously demonstrated that oral administration of the linear furanocoumarins, isopimpinellin and imperatorin, modulated P450 and GST activities in various tissues of mice. The purpose of the present study was to compare a broader range of naturally occurring coumarins (simple coumarins, and furanocoumarins of the linear and angular type) for their abilities to modulate hepatic drug metabolizing enzymes when administered orally to mice. We now report that all of the different coumarins tested (coumarin, limettin, auraptene, angelicin, bergamottin, imperatorin and isopimpinellin) induced hepatic GST activities, whereas the linear furanocoumarins possessed the greatest abilities to induce hepatic P450 activities, in particular P450 2B and 3A. In both cases, this corresponded to an increase in protein expression of the enzymes. Induction of P4502B10, 3A11, and 2C9 by xenobiotics often are a result of activation of the pregnane X receptor (PXR) and/or constitutive androstane receptor (CAR). Using a pregnane X receptor reporter system, our results demonstrated that isopimpinellin activated both PXR and its human ortholog SXR by recruiting coactivator SRC-1 in transfected cells. In CAR transfection assays, isopimpinellin counteracted the inhibitory effect of androstanol on full length mCAR, a Gal4-mCAR ligand binding domain fusion, and restored coactivator binding. Orally administered isopimpinellin induced hepatic mRNA expression of Cyp2b10,Cyp3a1, GSTa in CAR(+/+) wild-type mice. In contrast, the induction of Cyp2b10 mRNA by isopimpinellin was attenuated in the CAR(−/−) mice, suggesting that isopimpinellin induces Cyp2b10 via the CAR receptor. Overall, the current data indicate that naturally occurring coumarins have diverse activities in terms of inducing various xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes based on their chemical structure.
coumarins; furanocoumarins; P450s; pregnane X-receptor; constitutive androstane receptor
Detoxification of host plant defensive compounds by larval Lepidoptera is mediated by cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (P450s) such as CYP6B1, which is expressed in Papilio polyxenes (black swallowtail) larvae in response to xanthotoxin, a linear furanocoumarin. Baculovirus-mediated expression of two cloned CYP6B1 cDNAs in lepidopteran cell lines has demonstrated that CYP6B1 isozymes primarily metabolize the linear furanocoumarins, xanthotoxin and bergapten, and not angular furanocoumarins. To characterize the regulatory features of the CYP6B1 transcription unit, we have isolated the first full-length CYP6B1v3 genomic DNA clone from P. polyxenes. The open reading frame of this gene is interrupted by a single intron and is virtually identical to the previously characterized CYP6B1 cDNAs. Primer extension and ribonuclease protection analyses have localized the transcription initiation site to a point 28 nucleotides upstream from the AUG initiation codon. RNase protection analyses on RNA from larvae induced by linear and angular furanocoumarins indicate that transcription of the CYP6B1 gene is induced in insects significantly in response to xanthotoxin and only slightly in response to bergapten. Angular furanocoumarins, such as angelicin, which are not appreciably metabolized by the CYP6B1 gene product, do not significantly induce transcription of this gene. We conclude that this P450 gene is transcriptionally regulated in vivo by at least one of the substrates which the encoded protein metabolizes. Transient expression of CAT fusion constructs in transfected Sf9 lepidopteran cells demonstrates that nucleotides -1 to -838 upstream from the CYP6B1v3 transcription initiation site retain basal and xanthotoxin-inducible transcriptional activities in this heterologous cell line. These data clearly indicate that P. polyxenes has adapted to the presence of furanocoumarins in its host plants by evolving P450 isozymes and regulatory cascades which respond to specific toxins.
Phenolic compounds are widely distributed in the plant kingdom. Plant tissues may contain up to several grams per kilogram. External stimuli such as microbial infections, ultraviolet radiation, and chemical stressors induce their synthesis. The phenolic compounds resveratrol, flavonoids, and furanocoumarins have many ecologic functions and affect human health. Ecologic functions include defense against microbial pathogens and herbivorous animals. Phenolic compounds may have both beneficial and toxic effects on human health. Effects on low-density lipoproteins and aggregation of platelets are beneficial because they reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Mutagenic, cancerogenic, and phototoxic effects are risk factors of human health. The synthesis of phenolic compounds in plants can be modulated by the application of herbicides and, to a lesser extent, insecticides and fungicides. The effects on ecosystem functioning and human health are complex and cannot be predicted with great certainty. The consequences of the combined natural and pesticide-induced modulating effects for ecologic functions and human health should be further evaluated.
Production of pharmaceuticals in plants provides an alternative for chemical synthesis, fermentation or natural sources. Nicotiana benthamiana is deployed at commercial scale for production of therapeutic proteins. Here the potential of this plant is explored for rapid production of precursors of artemisinin, a sesquiterpenoid compound that is used for malaria treatment.
Biosynthetic genes leading to artemisinic acid, a precursor of artemisinin, were combined and expressed in N. benthamiana by agro-infiltration. The first committed precursor of artemisinin, amorpha-4,11-diene, was produced upon infiltration of a construct containing amorpha-4,11-diene synthase, accompanied by 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase and farnesyl diphosphate synthase. Amorpha-4,11-diene was detected both in extracts and in the headspace of the N. benthamiana leaves. When the amorphadiene oxidase CYP71AV1 was co-infiltrated with the amorphadiene-synthesizing construct, the amorpha-4,11-diene levels strongly decreased, suggesting it was oxidized. Surprisingly, no anticipated oxidation products, such as artemisinic acid, were detected upon GC-MS analysis. However, analysis of leaf extracts with a non-targeted metabolomics approach, using LC-QTOF-MS, revealed the presence of another compound, which was identified as artemisinic acid-12-β-diglucoside. This compound accumulated to 39.5 mg.kg−1 fwt. Apparently the product of the heterologous pathway that was introduced, artemisinic acid, is further metabolized efficiently by glycosyl transferases that are endogenous to N. benthamiana.
This work shows that agroinfiltration of N. bentamiana can be used as a model to study the production of sesquiterpenoid pharmaceutical compounds. The interaction between the ectopically introduced pathway and the endogenous metabolism of the plant is discussed.
Flavones are plant secondary metabolites that have wide pharmaceutical and nutraceutical applications. We previously constructed a recombinant flavanone pathway by expressing in Saccharomyces cerevisiae a four-step recombinant pathway that consists of cinnamate-4 hydroxylase, 4-coumaroyl:coenzyme A ligase, chalcone synthase, and chalcone isomerase. In the present work, the biosynthesis of flavones by two distinct flavone synthases was evaluated by introducing a soluble flavone synthase I (FSI) and a membrane-bound flavone synthase II (FSII) into the flavanone-producing recombinant yeast strain. The resulting recombinant strains were able to convert various phenylpropanoid acid precursors into the flavone molecules chrysin, apigenin, and luteolin, and the intermediate flavanones pinocembrin, naringenin, and eriodictyol accumulated in the medium. Improvement of flavone biosynthesis was achieved by overexpressing the yeast P450 reductase CPR1 in the FSII-expressing recombinant strain and by using acetate rather than glucose or raffinose as the carbon source. Overall, the FSI-expressing recombinant strain produced 50% more apigenin and six times less naringenin than the FSII-expressing recombinant strain when p-coumaric acid was used as a precursor phenylpropanoid acid. Further experiments indicated that unlike luteolin, the 5,7,4′-trihydroxyflavone apigenin inhibits flavanone biosynthesis in vivo in a nonlinear, dose-dependent manner.
Anethum graveolens L. (dill) has been used in ayurvedic medicines since ancient times and it is a popular herb widely used as a spice and also yields essential oil. It is an aromatic and annual herb of apiaceae family. The Ayurvedic uses of dill seeds are carminative, stomachic and diuretic. There are various volatile components of dill seeds and herb; carvone being the predominant odorant of dill seed and α-phellandrene, limonene, dill ether, myristicin are the most important odorants of dill herb. Other compounds isolated from seeds are coumarins, flavonoids, phenolic acids and steroids. The main purpose of this review is to understand the significance of Anethum graveolens in ayurvedic medicines and non-medicinal purposes and emphasis can also be given to the enhancement of secondary metabolites of this medicinal plant.
Anethum graveolens; ayurvedic uses; carvone; limonene; monoterpenes; review
The present study was undertaken to evaluate the effects of alcohol extracts of Ruta graveolens and Cannabis sativa that were used traditionally in medieval Persian medicine as male contraceptive drugs, on spermatogenesis in the adult male rats.
Materials and Methods:
Ethanol extracts of these plants were obtained by the maceration method. The male rats were injected intraperitionaly with C. sativa and R. graveolens 5% ethanol extracts at dose of 20 mg/day for 20 consecutive days, respectively. Twenty-four hours after the last treatment, testicular function was assessed by epididymal sperm count.
The statistical results showed that the ethanol extracts of these plants reduced the number of sperms significantly (P=0.00) in the treatment groups in comparison to the control group. The results also showed that the group, treated by extract of R. graveolens reduced spermatogenesis more than the group treated by extracts of C. sativa.
The present study demonstrated the spermatogenesis reducing properties of the ethanol extracts of R. graveolens and C. sativa in the adult male wistar rats but more studies are necessary to reveal the mechanism of action that is involved in spermatogenesis.
Cannabis sativa; fertility-decreasing properties; Ruta graveolens; spermatogenesis
Caffeic acid (3,4-dihydroxycinnamic acid) is a natural phenolic compound derived from the plant phenylpropanoid pathway. Caffeic acid and its phenethyl ester (CAPE) have attracted increasing attention for their various pharmaceutical properties and health-promoting effects. Nowadays, large-scale production of drugs or drug precursors via microbial approaches provides a promising alternative to chemical synthesis and extraction from plant sources.
We first identified that an Escherichia coli native hydroxylase complex previously characterized as the 4-hydroxyphenylacetate 3-hydroxylase (4HPA3H) was able to convert p-coumaric acid to caffeic acid efficiently. This critical enzymatic step catalyzed in plants by a membrane-associated cytochrome P450 enzyme, p-coumarate 3-hydroxylase (C3H), is difficult to be functionally expressed in prokaryotic systems. Moreover, the performances of two tyrosine ammonia lyases (TALs) from Rhodobacter species were compared after overexpression in E. coli. The results indicated that the TAL from R. capsulatus (Rc) possesses higher activity towards both tyrosine and L-dopa. Based on these findings, we further designed a dual pathway leading from tyrosine to caffeic acid consisting of the enzymes 4HPA3H and RcTAL. This heterologous pathway extended E. coli native tyrosine biosynthesis machinery and was able to produce caffeic acid (12.1 mg/L) in minimal salt medium. Further improvement in production was accomplished by boosting tyrosine biosynthesis in E. coli, which involved the alleviation of tyrosine-induced feedback inhibition and carbon flux redirection. Finally, the titer of caffeic acid reached 50.2 mg/L in shake flasks after 48-hour cultivation.
We have successfully established a novel pathway and constructed an E. coli strain for the production of caffeic acid. This work forms a basis for further improvement in production, as well as opens the possibility of microbial synthesis of more complex plant secondary metabolites derived from caffeic acid. In addition, we have identified that TAL is the rate-limiting enzyme in this pathway. Thus, exploration for more active TALs via bio-prospecting and protein engineering approaches is necessary for further improvement of caffeic acid production.
Diabetes mellitus is a growing problem in South Africa and of concern to traditional African health practitioners in the Nelson Mandela Metropole, because they experience a high incidence of diabetic cases in their practices. A collaborative research project with these practitioners focused on the screening of Bulbine frutescens, Ornithogalum longibracteatum, Ruta graveolens, Tarchonanthus camphoratus and Tulbaghia violacea for antidiabetic and cytotoxic potential. In vitro glucose utilisation assays with Chang liver cells and C2C12 muscle cells, and growth inhibition assays with Chang liver cells were conducted. The aqueous extracts of Bulbine frutescens (143.5%), Ornithogalum longibracteatum (131.9%) and Tarchonanthus camphoratus (131.5%) showed significant increased glucose utilisation activity in Chang liver cells. The ethanol extracts of Ruta graveolens (136.9%) and Tulbaghia violacea (140.5%) produced the highest increase in glucose utilisation in C2C12 muscle cells. The ethanol extract of Bulbine frutescens produced the most pronounced growth inhibition (33.3%) on Chang liver cells. These findings highlight the potential for the use of traditional remedies in the future for the management of diabetes and it is recommended that combinations of these plants be tested in future.
Diabetes mellitus; Cytotoxicity; Collaborative research; Chang liver cells; C2C12 muscle cells
Cynara cardunculus L. is an edible plant of pharmaceutical interest, in particular with respect to the polyphenolic content of its leaves. It includes three taxa: globe artichoke, cultivated cardoon, and wild cardoon. The dominating phenolics are the di-caffeoylquinic acids (such as cynarin), which are largely restricted to Cynara species, along with their precursor, chlorogenic acid (CGA). The scope of this study is to better understand CGA synthesis in this plant.
A gene sequence encoding a hydroxycinnamoyltransferase (HCT) involved in the synthesis of CGA, was identified. Isolation of the gene sequence was achieved by using a PCR strategy with degenerated primers targeted to conserved regions of orthologous HCT sequences available. We have isolated a 717 bp cDNA which shares 84% aminoacid identity and 92% similarity with a tobacco gene responsible for the biosynthesis of CGA from p-coumaroyl-CoA and quinic acid. In silico studies revealed the globe artichoke HCT sequence clustering with one of the main acyltransferase groups (i.e. anthranilate N-hydroxycinnamoyl/benzoyltransferase). Heterologous expression of the full length HCT (GenBank accession DQ104740) cDNA in E. coli demonstrated that the recombinant enzyme efficiently synthesizes both chlorogenic acid and p-coumaroyl quinate from quinic acid and caffeoyl-CoA or p-coumaroyl-CoA, respectively, confirming its identity as a hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA: quinate HCT. Variable levels of HCT expression were shown among wild and cultivated forms of C. cardunculus subspecies. The level of expression was correlated with CGA content.
The data support the predicted involvement of the Cynara cardunculus HCT in the biosynthesis of CGA before and/or after the hydroxylation step of hydroxycinnamoyl esters.
Ruta graveolens is a medicinal herb that has been used for centuries against various ailments. This study examined the anticancer properties of the herb using cancer cell lines.
Materials and Methods
Methanolic extract of R. graveolens was tested on colon, breast and prostate cancer cells. Viability, cell cycle profiles, clonogenicity and capase activation were measured. Induction and subcellular localizations of p53, 53BP1 and γ-H2AX proteins were examined.
the extract dose-dependently decreased the viability and the clonogenicity of treated cells and induced G2/M arrest, aberrant mitoses, and caspase-3 activation. It also induced the p53 pathway and focal concentration of the DNA damage response proteins 53BP1 and γ-H2AX. Moreover, the levels of phospho-Akt and cyclin B1 were reduced by treatment, whereas only cyclin B1 was reduced in normal dermal fibroblasts.
R. graveolens extract contains bioactive compounds which, independently of known photoactivatable mechanisms, potently inhibit cancer cell proliferation and survival through multiple targets.
Medicinal herb; bioactivity; p53 pathway; apoptosis
PpCHS is a member of the type III polyketide synthase family and catalyses the synthesis of the flavonoid precursor naringenin chalcone from p-coumaroyl-CoA. Recent research reports the production of pyrone derivatives using either hexanoyl-CoA or butyryl-CoA as starter molecule. The Cys-His-Asn catalytic triad found in other plant chalcone synthase predicted polypeptides is conserved in PpCHS. Site directed mutagenesis involving these amino acids residing in the active-site cavity revealed that the cavity volume of the active-site plays a significant role in the selection of starter molecules as well as product formation. Substitutions of Cys 170 with Arg and Ser amino acids decreased the ability of the PpCHS to utilize hexanoyl-CoA as a starter molecule, which directly effected the production of pyrone derivatives (products). These substitutions are believed to have a restricted number of elongations of the growing polypeptide chain due to the smaller cavity volume of the mutant’s active site.
chalcone synthase; site-directed mutagenesis; active site; by-products
Pelargonium graveolens (P. graveolens) L. is an aromatic and medicinal plant belonging to the geraniacea family.
The chemical compositions of the essential oil as well as the in vitro antimicrobial activities were investigated. The GC-MS analysis of the essential oil revealed 42 compounds. Linallol L, Citronellol, Geraniol, 6-Octen-1-ol, 3,7-dimethyl, formate and Selinene were identified as the major components. The tested oil and organic extracts exhibited a promising antimicrobial effect against a panel of microorganisms with diameter inhibition zones ranging from 12 to 34 mm and MICs values from 0.039 to10 mg/ml. The investigation of the phenolic content showed that EtOAc, MeOH and water extracts had the highest phenolic contents.
Overall, results presented here suggest that the essential oil and organic extracts of P. graveolens possesses antimicrobial and properties, and is therefore a potential source of active ingredients for food and pharmaceutical industry.
P. graveolens; Antimicrobial activity; Essential oils; Organic extracts; GC/MS
The pioneering ancestor of land plants that conquered terrestrial habitats around 500 million years ago had to face dramatic stresses including UV radiation, desiccation, and microbial attack. This drove a number of adaptations, among which the emergence of the phenylpropanoid pathway was crucial, leading to essential compounds such as flavonoids and lignin. However, the origin of this specific land plant secondary metabolism has not been clarified.
We have performed an extensive analysis of the taxonomic distribution and phylogeny of Phenylalanine Ammonia Lyase (PAL), which catalyses the first and essential step of the general phenylpropanoid pathway, leading from phenylalanine to p-Coumaric acid and p-Coumaroyl-CoA, the entry points of the flavonoids and lignin routes. We obtained robust evidence that the ancestor of land plants acquired a PAL via horizontal gene transfer (HGT) during symbioses with soil bacteria and fungi that are known to have established very early during the first steps of land colonization. This horizontally acquired PAL represented then the basis for further development of the phenylpropanoid pathway and plant radiation on terrestrial environments.
Our results highlight a possible crucial role of HGT from soil bacteria in the path leading to land colonization by plants and their subsequent evolution. The few functional characterizations of sediment/soil bacterial PAL (production of secondary metabolites with powerful antimicrobial activity or production of pigments) suggest that the initial advantage of this horizontally acquired PAL in the ancestor of land plants might have been either defense against an already developed microbial community and/or protection against UV.
This article was reviewed by Purificación López-García, Janet Siefert, and Eugene Koonin.
Carotenoids and their derivatives are essential for growth, development, and signaling in plants and have an added benefit as nutraceuticals in food crops. Despite the importance of the biosynthetic pathway, there remain open questions regarding some of the later enzymes in the pathway. The CYP97 family of P450 enzymes was predicted to function in carotene ring hydroxylation, to convert provitamin A carotenes to nonprovitamin A xanthophylls. However, substrate specificity was difficult to investigate directly in plants, which mask enzyme activities by a complex and dynamic metabolic network. To characterize the enzymes more directly, we amplified cDNAs from a model crop, Oryza sativa, and used functional complementation in Escherichia coli to test activity and specificity of members of Clans A and C. This heterologous system will be valuable for further study of enzyme interactions and substrate utilization needed to understand better the role of CYP97 hydroxylases in plant carotenoid biosynthesis.
carotene; P450; CYP97; hydroxylases; vitamin A; Oryza sativa; metabolic engineering; xanthophylls; plants; Escherichia coli functional complementation
Cholesterol is converted into dozens of primary and secondary bile acids through pathways subject to negative feedback regulation mediated by the nuclear receptor farnesoid X receptor (FXR) and other effectors. Disruption of the sterol 12α-hydroxylase gene (Cyp8b1) in mice prevents the synthesis of cholate, a primary bile acid, and its metabolites. Feedback regulation of the rate-limiting biosynthetic enzyme cholesterol 7α-hydroxylase (CYP7A1) is lost in Cyp8b1–/– mice, causing expansion of the bile acid pool and alterations in cholesterol metabolism. Expression of other FXR target genes is unaltered in these mice. Cholate restores CYP7A1 regulation in vivo and in vitro. The results implicate cholate as an important negative regulator of bile acid synthesis and provide preliminary evidence for ligand-specific gene activation by a nuclear receptor.
Phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) is the first entry enzyme of the phenylpropanoid pathway producing phenolics, widespread constituents of plant foods and beverages, including chlorogenic acids, polyphenols found at remarkably high levels in the coffee bean and long recognized as powerful antioxidants. To date, whereas PAL is generally encoded by a small gene family, only one gene has been characterized in Coffea canephora (CcPAL1), an economically important species of cultivated coffee. In this study, a molecular- and bioinformatic-based search for CcPAL1 paralogues resulted successfully in identifying two additional genes, CcPAL2 and CcPAL3, presenting similar genomic structures and encoding proteins with close sequences. Genetic mapping helped position each gene in three different coffee linkage groups, CcPAL2 in particular, located in a coffee genome linkage group (F) which is syntenic to a region of Tomato Chromosome 9 containing a PAL gene. These results, combined with a phylogenetic study, strongly suggest that CcPAL2 may be the ancestral gene of C. canephora. A quantitative gene expression analysis was also conducted in coffee tissues, showing that all genes are transcriptionally active, but they present distinct expression levels and patterns. We discovered that CcPAL2 transcripts appeared predominantly in flower, fruit pericarp and vegetative/lignifying tissues like roots and branches, whereas CcPAL1 and CcPAL3 were highly expressed in immature fruit. This is the first comprehensive study dedicated to PAL gene family characterization in coffee, allowing us to advance functional studies which are indispensable to learning to decipher what role this family plays in channeling the metabolism of coffee phenylpropanoids.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00425-012-1613-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Chlorogenic acids; Coffea; Gene expression; Gene structure; Mapping; Phenylalanine ammonia lyase
To determine possible toxic effects of Ruta graveolens hydroalcoholic extract in gastrointestinal parasitic infection.
Materials and Methods:
A total of 100 g plant leaves and seeds were powdered and extracted with 1500 mL alcohol/water and administered by gavage to Swiss albino mice infected with Vampirolepis nana. Anti-parasitic evaluation and toxicity assays were carried out in six groups of ten animals each. Treatments were scheduled with both the leaves and the seeds’ extracts at doses of 2.5, 5, and 10 mg per gram body weight. Toxicity was comparatively analyzed to a vehicle control group (n = 10) and to a Praziquantel® treated. On the fifth day, all the individuals were killed by euthanasia and parasite scores were correlated, giving rise to a relative percentage of elimination to each treatment. Toxicity was achieved by hematology and by clinical chemistry determinations.
The use of the R. graveolens hydroalcoholic extract to treat V. nana infected mice resulted in a mild-to-moderate hepatoxicity associated to a poor anti-parasitic effect. The major proglottids elimination (E%) was achieved at the lowest crude extract concentration with a mild anti-parasitic efficacy from the highest dose; that did not cause a significant elimination of parasites. A decrease of circulating polymorphonuclear-neutrophils associated with a normochromic-normocytic anemia was detected as the extract dose was augmented. The blood aspartate-aminotransferase and alanine-aminotransferase tended be slightly augmented with 100 mg R. graveolens extract.
R. graveolens is an unsafe natural anti-parasitic medicine as its active constituents may be poorly extracted by the popular crude herb infusion. Although it presented a mild anti-parasitic effect in mice, symptoms of natural-products-induced-liver-disease confirmed that its self-medication should be avoided.
Anthelmintic activity; natural-products-induced-liver-disease; Ruta graveolens; Vampirolepis nana
The identification of targets whose interaction is likely to result in the successful treatment of a disease is of growing interest for natural product scientists. In the current study we performed an exemplary application of a virtual parallel screening approach to identify potential targets for 16 secondary metabolites isolated and identified from the aerial parts of the medicinal plant Ruta graveolens L. Low energy conformers of the isolated constituents were simultaneously screened against a set of 2208 pharmacophore models generated in-house for the in silico prediction of putative biological targets, i. e., target fishing. Based on the predicted ligand-target interactions, we focused on three biological targets, namely acetylcholinesterase (AChE), the human rhinovirus (HRV) coat protein and the cannabinoid receptor type-2 (CB2). For a critical evaluation of the applied parallel screening approach, virtual hits and non-hits were assayed on the respective targets. For AChE the highest scoring virtual hit, arborinine, showed the best inhibitory in vitro activity on AChE (IC50 34.7 μM). Determination of the anti-HRV-2 effect revealed 6,7,8-trimethoxycoumarin and arborinine to be the most active antiviral constituents with IC50 values of 11.98 μM and 3.19 μM, respectively. Of these, arborinine was predicted virtually. Of all the molecules subjected to parallel screening, one virtual CB2 ligand was obtained, i.e., rutamarin. Interestingly, in experimental studies only this compound showed a selective activity to the CB2 receptor (Ki of 7.4 μM) by using a radioligand displacement assay. The applied parallel screening paradigm with constituents of R. graveolens on three different proteins has shown promise as an in silico tool for rational target fishing and pharmacological profiling of extracts and single chemical entities in natural product research.
Ruta graveolens L; Rutaceae; pharmacophore modelling; virtual parallel screening; acetylcholinesterase; cannabinoid receptor 2; human rhinovirus coat protein
Cholesterol conversion to bile acids is subject to a feedback regulatory mechanism by which bile acids down-regulate their own synthesis. This regulation occurs at the level of transcription of several genes encoding enzymes in the bile acid biosynthetic pathway. One of these enzymes is sterol 12α-hydroxylase/CYP8B1 (12α-hydroxylase), the specific enzyme required for cholic acid synthesis. The levels of this enzyme determine the ratio of cholic acid to chenodeoxycholic acid and thus the hydrophobicity of the circulating bile acid pool. Previous studies from this laboratory showed that fetoprotein transcription factor (FTF) is required for 12α-hydroxylase promoter activity and bile acid-mediated regulation. Here, we report that the short heterodimer partner (SHP) suppresses 12α-hydroxylase promoter activity via an interaction with FTF. Hepatic nuclear factor-4 (HNF-4) binds and activates the 12α-hydroxylase promoter and is required for 12α-hydroxylase promoter activity. Although HNF-4 interacts with SHP, it is not involved in SHP-mediated suppression of 12α-hydroxylase promoter activity. FTF and not HNF-4 is the factor involved in regulation of 12α-hydroxylase promoter activity by bile acids through its interaction with SHP. Finally, interaction of SHP with FTF displaces FTF binding to its sites within the 12α-hydroxylase promoter. These results provide insights into the mechanism of action of bile acid-mediated regulation of sterol 12α-hydroxylase transcription.
The voltage-gated potassium channel Kv1.3 constitutes an attractive pharmacological target for the treatment of effector memory T cell-mediated autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and psoriasis. Using 5-methoxypsoralen (5-MOP, 1), a compound isolated from Ruta graveolens, as a template we previously synthesized 5-(4-phenoxybutoxy)psoralen (PAP-1, 2) which inhibits Kv1.3 with an IC50 of 2 nM. Since PAP-1 is more than 1000-fold more potent than 5-MOP, we here investigated whether attaching a 4-phenoxybutoxy side-chain to other heterocyclic systems would also produce potent Kv1.3 blockers. While 4-phenoxybutoxy substituted quinolines, quinazolines and phenanthrenes were inactive, 4-phenoxybutoxy substituted quinolinones, furoquinolines, coumarins or furochromones inhibited Kv1.3 with IC50s of 150 nM to 10 µM in whole-cell patch-clamp experiments. Our most potent new compound is 4-(4-phenoxybutoxy)-7H-furo[3,2-g]chromene-7-thione (73, IC50 17 nM), in which the carbonyl oxygen of PAP-1 is replaced by sulfur. Taken together, our results demonstrate that the psoralen system is a crucial part of the pharmacophore of phenoxyalkoxypsoralen-type Kv1.3 blockers.
Kv1.3; voltage-gated potassium channel; PAP-1; immunosuppression
The phenylpropanoid pathway serves as a rich source of metabolites in plants, being required for the biosynthesis of lignin, and serving as a starting point for the production of many other important compounds, such as the flavonoids, coumarins, and lignans. In spite of the fact that the phenylpropanoids and their derivatives are sometimes classified as secondary metabolites, their relevance to plant survival has been made clear via the study of Arabidopsis and other plant species. As a model system, Arabidopsis has helped to elucidate many details of the phenylpropanoid pathway, its enzymes and intermediates, and the interconnectedness of the pathway with plant metabolism as a whole. These advances in our understanding have been made possible in large part by the relative ease with which mutations can be generated, identified, and studied in Arabidopsis. Herein, we provide an overview of the research progress that has been made in recent years, emphasizing both the genes (and gene families) associated with the phenylpropanoid pathway in Arabidopsis, and the end products that have contributed to the identification of many mutants deficient in the phenylpropanoid metabolism: the sinapate esters.
Understanding the regulation of the flavonoid pathway is important for maximising the nutritional value of crop plants and possibly enhancing their resistance towards pathogens. The flavonoid 3'5'-hydroxylase (F3'5'H) enzyme functions at an important branch point between flavonol and anthocyanin synthesis, as is evident from studies in petunia (Petunia hybrida), and potato (Solanum tuberosum). The present work involves the identification and characterisation of a F3'5'H gene from tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), and the examination of its putative role in flavonoid metabolism.
The cloned and sequenced tomato F3'5'H gene was named CYP75A31. The gene was inserted into the pYeDP60 expression vector and the corresponding protein produced in yeast for functional characterisation. Several putative substrates for F3'5'H were tested in vitro using enzyme assays on microsome preparations. The results showed that two hydroxylation steps occurred. Expression of the CYP75A31 gene was also tested in vivo, in various parts of the vegetative tomato plant, along with other key genes of the flavonoid pathway using real-time PCR. A clear response to nitrogen depletion was shown for CYP75A31 and all other genes tested. The content of rutin and kaempferol-3-rutinoside was found to increase as a response to nitrogen depletion in most parts of the plant, however the growth conditions used in this study did not lead to accumulation of anthocyanins.
CYP75A31 (NCBI accession number GQ904194), encodes a flavonoid 3'5'-hydroxylase, which accepts flavones, flavanones, dihydroflavonols and flavonols as substrates. The expression of the CYP75A31 gene was found to increase in response to nitrogen deprivation, in accordance with other genes in the phenylpropanoid pathway, as expected for a gene involved in flavonoid metabolism.
The ability of plants to withstand drought, a potentially major constraint to yield and production, is influenced by abscisic acid (ABA). ABA is synthesized in the cytosol from plastid carotenoid pathway derived precursors, and later inactivated by the action of ABA hydroxylases. Endogenous accumulation of ABA is controlled by both its synthesis and catabolism. Enzymatic activity of ABA 8′-hydroxylase (ABA8Ox), also referred to as CYP707A, is considered one of the key steps in modulating ABA levels that control numerous physiological processes. To investigate the role of this enzyme, maize ABA8Ox gene family members were identified. ABA8Ox gene expression was then analyzed in different tissues and roots during the drought-stress response in maize. These genes were found to be expressed in all tissues, with a high degree of specificity to each tissue and some degree of overlap. Maize ABA8Ox1a and ABA8Ox1b were shown to be the major transcript components for regulating ABA catabolism in drought-stressed roots. Phylogenetic and gene-structure analyses were performed to extend the implications and infer the cause of ABA catabolism in other cereal crops.
ABA; abiotic stress; carotenoids; maize; sorghum; rice
Benzalacetone synthase, from the medicinal plant Rheum palmatum (RpBAS), is a plant-specific chalcone synthase (CHS) superfamily of type III polyketide synthase (PKS). RpBAS catalyzes the one-step, decarboxylative condensation of 4-coumaroyl-CoA with malonyl-CoA to produce the C6–C4 benzalacetone scaffold. The X-ray crystal structures of RpBAS confirmed that the diketide-forming activity is attributable to the characteristic substitution of the conserved active-site “gatekeeper” Phe with Leu. Furthermore, the crystal structures suggested that RpBAS employs novel catalytic machinery for the thioester bond cleavage of the enzyme-bound diketide intermediate and the final decarboxylation reaction to produce benzalacetone. Finally, by exploiting the remarkable substrate tolerance and catalytic versatility of RpBAS, precursor-directed biosynthesis efficiently generated chemically and structurally divergent, unnatural novel polyketide scaffolds. These findings provided a structural basis for the functional diversity of the type III PKS enzymes.
benzalacetone synthase; polyphenol; polyketide synthase; enzyme; biosynthesis