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1.  Songaricalarins A–E, Cytotoxic Oplopane Sesquiterpenes from Ligularia songarica# 
Journal of natural products  2012;76(3):305-310.
Five new highly oxygenated oplopane sesquiterpenes, songaricalarins A–E (1–5), and two known analogues (6 and 7) were isolated from the roots and rhizomes of Ligularia songarica. Their structures and configurations were elucidated by spectroscopic methods, including 2D-NMR techniques, and the structure of 1 was confirmed by single-crystal X-ray diffraction. All compounds were evaluated for in vitro cytotoxic activity against cultured A-549, MCF-7, KB, and KBVIN cells, and 4 exhibited cytotoxicity with EC50 values of 4.9, 0.8, 3.4, and 3.2 µg/mL, respectively.
doi:10.1021/np300532p
PMCID: PMC3553309  PMID: 23043462
2.  Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of N-Alkyl-N-(4-methoxyphenyl)pyridin-2-amines as a New Class of Tubulin Polymerization Inhibitors 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2012;21(3):632-642.
Based on our prior antitumor hits, 32 novel N-alkyl-N-substituted phenylpyridin-2-amine derivatives were designed, synthesized and evaluated for cytotoxic activity against A549, KB, KBVIN, and DU145 human tumor cell lines (HTCL). Subsequently, three new leads (6a, 7g, and 8c) with submicromolar GI50 values of 0.19 to 0.41 μM in the cellular assays were discovered, and these compounds also significantly inhibited tubulin assembly (IC50 1.4–1.7 μM) and competitively inhibited colchicine binding to tubulin with effects similar to those of the clinical candidate CA-4 in the same assays. These promising results indicate that these tertiary diarylamine derivatives represent a novel class of tubulin polymerization inhibitors targeting the colchicine binding site and showing significant anti-proliferative activity.
doi:10.1016/j.bmc.2012.11.047
PMCID: PMC3546147  PMID: 23274123
N-alkyl-N-phenylpyridin-2-amines; cytotoxicity; tubulin polymerization inhibitors; colchicine binding site
3.  Plant-derived triterpenoids and analogues as antitumor and anti-HIV agents† 
Natural product reports  2009;26(10):1321-1344.
This article reviews the antitumor and anti-HIV activities of naturally occurring triterpenoids, including the lupane, ursane, oleanane, lanostane, dammarane, and miscellaneous scaffolds. Structure–activity relationships of selected natural compounds and their synthetic derivatives are also discussed.
doi:10.1039/b810774m
PMCID: PMC3773821  PMID: 19779642
4.  HIV Entry Inhibitors and Their Potential in HIV Therapy 
Medicinal research reviews  2009;29(2):369-393.
This review discusses recent progress in the development of anti-HIV agents targeting the viral entry process. The three main classes (attachment inhibitors, co-receptor binding inhibitors, and fusion inhibitors) are further broken down by specific mechanism of action and structure. Many of these inhibitors are in advanced clinical trials, including the HIV maturation inhibitor bevirimat, from the authors’ laboratories. In addition, the CCR5 inhibitor maraviroc has recently been FDA-approved. Possible roles for these agents in anti-HIV therapy, including treatment of virus resistant to current drugs, are also discussed.
doi:10.1002/med.20138
PMCID: PMC3773846  PMID: 18720513
HIV entry inhibitors; attachment inhibitors; co-receptor binding inhibitors; fusion inhibitors; maraviroc (MVC; UK-427, 857); enfuvirtide (T20;fuzeon); bevirimat (DSB;PA-457)
5.  Antitumor agents 294. Novel E-ring-modified camptothecin–4β-anilino-4′-O-demethylepipodophyllotoxin conjugates as DNA topoisomerase I inhibitors and cytotoxic agents 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2012;20(14):4489-4494.
Two conjugates (1 and 2) of camptothecin (CPT) and 4β-anilino-4′-O-demethylepipodophyllotoxin were previously shown to exert antitumor activity through inhibition of topoisomerase I (topo I). In this current study, two novel conjugates (1E and 2E) with an open E-ring in the CPT moiety were first synthesized and evaluated for biological activity in comparison with their intact E-ring congeners. This novel class of CPT derivatives exhibits its antitumor effect against CPT-sensitive and -resistant cells, in part, by inhibiting topo I-linked DNA (TLD) religation. An intact E-ring was not essential for the inhibition of TLD religation, although conjugates with an open E-ring were less potent than the closed ring analogs. This lower religation potency resulted in decreased formation of protein-linked DNA breaks (PLDBs), and hence, less cell growth inhibition. In addition to their impact on topo I, conjugates 1E, 2, and 2E exhibited a minor inhibitory effect on topo II-induced DNA cleavage. The novel structures of 1E and 2E may present scaffolds for further development of dual function topo I and II inhibitors with improved pharmacological profiles and physicochemical properties.
doi:10.1016/j.bmc.2012.05.030
PMCID: PMC3389137  PMID: 22698783
Topoisomerase; cytotoxicity; camptothecin (CPT); etoposide (VP-16); epipodophyllotoxin; conjugates
6.  Antitumor agents 290. † Design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of new LNCaP and PC-3 cytotoxic curcumin analogs conjugated with anti-androgens 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2012;20(13):4020-4031.
In our continuing study of curcumin analogs as potential anti-prostate cancer drug candidates, 15 new curcumin analogs were designed, synthesized and evaluated for cytotoxicity against two human prostate cancer cell lines, androgen-dependent LNCaP and androgen-independent PC-3. Twelve analogs (5-12, 15, 16, 19, and 20) are conjugates of curcumin (1) or methyl curcumin (2) with a flutamide- or bicalutamide-like moiety. Two compounds (22 and 23) are C4-mono- and difluoro-substituted analogs of dimethyl curcumin (DMC, 21). Among the newly synthesized conjugates compound 15, a conjugate of 2 with a partial bicalutamide moiety, was more potent than bicalutamide alone and essentially equipotent with 1 and 2 against both prostate tumor cell lines with IC50 values of 41.8 μM (for LNCaP) and 39.1 μM (for PC-3). A cell morphology study revealed that the cytotoxicity of curcumin analogs or curcumin-antiandrogen conjugates detected from both prostate cancer cell lines might be due to the suppression of pseudopodia formation. A molecular intrinsic fluorescence experiment showed that 1 accumulated mainly in the nuclei, while conjugate 6 was distributed in the cytosol. At the tested conditions, antiandrogens suppressed pseudopodia formation in PC-3 cells, but not in LNCaP cells. The evidence suggests that distinguishable target proteins are involved, resulting in the different outcomes toward pseudopodia suppression.
doi:10.1016/j.bmc.2012.05.011
PMCID: PMC3376200  PMID: 22672984
Synthesis; Curcumin analogs; Conjugates; Cytotoxicity; Anti-prostate cancer; Morphology
7.  Design and synthesis of gambogic acid analogs as potent cytotoxic and anti-inflammatory agents 
Prenyl- and pyrano-xanthones derived from 1,3,6-trihydroxy-9H-xanthen-9-one, a basic backbone of gambogic acid (GA), were synthesized and evaluated for in vitro cytotoxic effects against four human cancer cell lines (KB, KBvin, A549, and DU-145) and anti-inflammatory activity toward superoxide anion generation and elastase release by human neutrophils in response to fMLP/CB. Among them, prenylxanthones 7-13 were generally less active than pyranoxanthones 14-21 in both anticancer and anti-inflammatory assays. Furthermore, two angular 3,3-dimethypyranoxanthones (16 and 20) showed the greatest and selective activity against the KBvin multidrug resistant (MDR) cell line with IC50 values of 0.9 and 0.8 μ g/mL, respectively. An angular 3-methyl-3-prenylpyranoxanthone (17) selectively inhibited elastase release with 200 times more potency than phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride (PMSF), the positive control.
doi:10.1016/j.bmcl.2012.04.084
PMCID: PMC3374489  PMID: 22595179
1,3,6-Trihydroxy-9H-xanthen-9-one; Gambogic acid (GA); Prenylxanthones; Pyranoxanthones; Cytotoxicity; Anti-inflammatory activity
8.  Anti-AIDS agents 88. Anti-HIV conjugates of betulin and betulinic acid with AZT prepared via click chemistry 
Tetrahedron letters  2012;53(15):1987-1989.
In the present study, a new strategy to link AZT with betulin/betulinic acid (BA) by click chemistry was designed and achieved. This conjugation via a triazole linkage offers a new direction for modification of anti-HIV triterpenes. Click chemistry provides an easy and productive way for linking two molecules, even when one of them is a large natural product. Among the newly synthesized conjugates, compounds 15 and 16 showed potent anti-HIV activity with EC50 values of 0.067 and 0.10 µM, respectively, which are comparable to that of AZT (EC50: 0.10 µM) in the same assay.
doi:10.1016/j.tetlet.2012.02.022
PMCID: PMC3375835  PMID: 22711941
Betulin; Betulinic acid; AZT; Anti-HIV; Click chemistry
9.  Antitumor Agents 289. Design, Synthesis, and Anti-breast Cancer Activity in Vivo of 4-Amino-2H-benzo[h]chromen-2-one (ABO) and 4-Amino-7,8,9,10-tetrahydro-2H-benzo[h]chromen-2-one (ATBO) Analogues with Improved Water Solubility# 
Journal of Natural Products  2012;75(3):370-377.
Previously, we reported that 4-amino-2H-benzo[h]chromen-2-one (ABO) and 4-amino-7,8,9,10-tetrahydro-2H-benzo[h]chromen-2-one (ATBO) analogues, which were developed from the lead natural produce neo-tanshinlactone, are potent cytotoxic agents. In order to improve on their water solubility, the diamino analogues and related salts were designed. All synthesized compounds were assayed for cytotoxicity, and selected compounds were evaluated for in vivo anti-mammary epithelial proliferation activity in wild-type mice and mice predisposed for mammary tumors due to Brca1/p53 mutations. The new derivatives 10, 16 (ABO), 22, and 27 (ATBO) were the most active analogues with IC50 values of 0.038–0.085 μM in the cytotoxicity assay. Analogue 10 showed around 50-fold improved water solubility compared with the prior lead ABO compound 4-[(4'-methoxyphenyl)amino]-2H-benzo[h]chromen-2-one (3). Compounds 3, 4, 10, and 22 significantly reduced overall numbers of mammary cells as indicated by the reduction of mammary gland branching in mutant mice. A one-week treatment with 10 resulted in 80% reduction in BrdU-positive cells in the cancer prone mammary gland. These four compounds had differential effects on cellular proliferation and apoptosis in wild-type mouse and mouse model of human breast cancers. Compound 10 merits further development as a promising anticancer clinical trial candidate.
doi:10.1021/np2007878
PMCID: PMC3311758  PMID: 22304236
10.  Antitumor Agents 291 Expanded B-Ring Modification Study of 6,8,8-Triethyl Desmosdumotin B Analogues as Multidrug-Resistance Selective Agents 
Medicinal chemistry  2011;1(101):1000101.
Drug usefulnessis frequently obstructed by the incidence of the multidrug resistance (MDR) phenotype and severe adverse effects. Exploiting collateral sensitive(CS)agents (in this case also called MDR-selective agents), which selectively target only MDR cells, is an emerging and novel approach to overcome MDR in cancer treatment. In prior studies, we found that 4′-methyl-6,6,8-triethyldesmosdumotin B (4′-Me-TEDB, 2) is an MDR-selective synthetic flavonoid with significant in vitro anticancer activity against a MDR cell line (KB-Vin) but without activity against the parent cells (KB) as well as other non-MDR tumor cells. Our recent results suggest the absolute MDR-selectivity varies depending on the cell-line system. In order to explore this further and to better understand the critical pharmacophores, we have synthesized nine novel analogues of 2, which contain heteroaromatic as well ascycloalkyl B-rings. The new compounds were evaluated for cytotoxicity to explore the effect of B-ring modifications on MDR-selectivity. All analogues, except 7, 9 and 10, were identified as significant MDR-selective compounds. This observation solidifies the importance of the 5-hydroxy-6,8,8-trialkyl-4H-chromene-4,7(8H)-dione skeleton (AC-ring system) for the pharmacological activity and establishes the B-ring as less critical for the broader spectrum MDR-selectivity. Notably, 3-furanyl (3)and 2-thiophenyl (6)analogues displayed substantial MDR–selectivity with KB/KB-Vin ratios of >12 and 16, respectively. Furthermore, 3 and 6 also exhibited MDR–selectivity in a second set of paired cell lines, the MDR/non-MDR hepatoma-cell system. Interestingly, a cyclohexyl analogue (11) showed moderate inhibition of A549, DU145, and PC-3 cell growth, while the other compounds were inactive. These new findings are discussed in terms of current understanding of mechanism and structure–activity relationship (SAR) of our novel MDR-selective flavonoids.
doi:10.4172/2161-0444.1000101
PMCID: PMC3537172  PMID: 23293751
Triethyldesmosdumotin B; Multi-drug resistance; MDR-selectivity (collateral sensitivity); Heteroaromatic ring; Cycloalkyl ring
11.  Cytotoxic esterified diterpenoid alkaloid derivatives with increased selectivity against a drug-resistant cancer cell line 
C-6 Esterifications of delpheline (1) were carried out to provide 20 new diterpenoid alkaloid derivatives (4–22, 24). Three natural alkaloids (1–3) and all synthesized compounds (4–25) were evaluated for cytotoxic activity against lung (A549), prostate (DU145), nasopharyngeal (KB), and vincristine-resistant nasopharyngeal (KB-VIN) cancer cell lines and interestingly, showed an improved drug resistance profile compared to paclitaxel. Particularly, 6-(4-fluoro-3-methylbenzoyl)delpheline (22) displayed 2.6-fold greater potency against KB-VIN cells compared with the parental non-drug resistant KB cells. 6-Acylation of 1 appears to be critical for producing cytotoxic activity in this alkaloid class and a means to provide promising new leads for further development into antitumor agents.
doi:10.1016/j.bmcl.2011.11.026
PMCID: PMC3248953  PMID: 22142543
Delpheline; C19-diterpenoid alkaloid; Cytotoxicity
12.  Anti-AIDS agents 85. Design, synthesis, and evaluation of 1R,2R-dicamphanoyl-3,3-dimethyldihydropyrano-[2,3-c]xanthen-7(1H)-one (DCX) derivatives as novel anti-HIV agents 
In this study, 1R,2R-dicamphanoyl-3,3-dimethydihydropyrano[2,3-c]xanthen-7(1H)-one (DCX) derivatives were designed and synthesized as novel anti-HIV agents against both wild-type and nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitor-resistant HIV-1 (RTMDR-1) strains. Twenty-four DCX analogs (6-29) were synthesized and evaluated against the non-drug-resistant HIV-1 NL4-3 strain, and selected analogs were also screened for their ability to inhibit the RTMDR-1 strain. Compared with the control 2-ethyl-3′,4′-di-O-(-)-camphanoyl-2′,2′-dimethyldihydropyrano[2,3-f]chromone (2-EDCP, 2), one of the best anti-HIV coumarin derivatives in our prior study, three DCX compounds (7, 12, and 22) showed better activity against both HIV strains with an EC50 range of 0.062 – 0.081 μM, and five additional compounds (8, 11, 16, 18, and 21) exhibited comparable anti-HIV potency. Six DCX analogs (7, 11-12, 18, and 21-22) also showed enhanced selectivity index (SI) values in comparison to the control. Structure-activity relationship (SAR) information suggested that the extended conjugated system of the pyranoxanthone skeleton facilitates the interaction of the small DCX molecule within the viral binding pocket, consequently leading to enhanced anti-HIV activity and selectivity. Compared to DCP compounds, DCX analogs are a more promising new class of anti-HIV agents.
doi:10.1016/j.ejmech.2011.10.025
PMCID: PMC3259201  PMID: 22063755
1R,2R-dicamphanoyl-3,3-dimethydihydropyrano[2,3-c]xanthen-7(1H)-one (DCX); Anti-HIV activity; Structure-activity relationship (SAR)
13.  Anti-AIDS agents 87. New bio-isosteric dicamphanoyl-dihydropyranochromone (DCP) and dicamphanoyl-khellactone (DCK) analogues with potent anti-HIV activity 
Six 3′R,4′R-di-O-(S)-camphanoyl-2′,2′-dimethyldihydropyrano[2,3-f]chromone (DCP) and two 3′R,4′R-di-O-(S)-camphanoyl-(+)-cis-khellactone (DCK) derivatives were designed, synthesized, and evaluated for inhibition of HIV-1NL4-3 replication in TZM-bl cells. 2-Ethyl-2′-monomethyl-1′-oxa- and -1′-thia-DCP (5a, 6a), as well as 2-ethyl-1′-thia-DCP (7a) exhibited potent anti-HIV activity with EC50 values of 30, 38 and 54 nM and therapeutic indexes of 152.6, 48.0 and 100.0, respectively, which were better than or comparable to those of the lead compound 2-ethyl-DCP in the same assay. 4-Methyl-1′-thia-DCK (8a) also showed significant inhibitory activity with an EC50 of 128 nM and TI of 237.9.
doi:10.1016/j.bmcl.2011.07.105
PMCID: PMC3171603  PMID: 21871800
2′-Monomethyl-1′-oxa-DCP; 2′-Monomethyl-1′-thia-DCP; 2-Ethyl-1′-thia-DCP; 4-Methyl-1′-thia-DCK; Anti-HIV activity
14.  Anti-AIDS agents 86. Synthesis and anti-HIV evaluation of 2′,3′-seco-3′-nor DCP and DCK analogues 
In a continuing study of novel anti-HIV agents with drug-like structures and properties, 30 1′-O-, 1′-S-, 4′-O- and 4′-substituted-2′,3′-seco-3′-nor DCP and DCK analogues (8–37) were designed and synthesized. All newly synthesized seco-compounds were screened against HIV-1NL4-3 and a multiple reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitor-resistant (RTMDR) strain in the TZM-bl cell line, using seco-DCK (7) and 2-ethyl-DCP (4) as controls. Several compounds (14, 18, 19, 22–24, and 32) exhibited potent anti-HIV activity with EC50 values ranging from 0.93 to 1.93 μM and therapeutic index (TI) values ranging from 20 to 39. 1′-O-Isopropoxy-2′,3′-seco-3′-nor-DCP (12) showed the greatest potency among the newly synthesized compounds with EC50 values of 0.47 and 0.88 μM, and TI of 96 and 51, respectively, against HIV-1NL4-3 and RTMDR strains. The seco-compounds exhibited better chemical stability in acidic conditions compared with DCP and DCK compounds. Overall, the results suggested that seco-DCP analogues with simplified structures may be more favorable for development as novel anti-HIV candidates.
doi:10.1016/j.ejmech.2011.07.051
PMCID: PMC3183312  PMID: 21864952
2′, 3′-Seco-3′-nor-DCPs; Anti-HIV activity; Structure–activity relationship (SAR)
15.  Stelleralides A-C, Novel Potent Anti-HIV Daphnane-Type Diterpenoids from Stellera chamaejasme L 
Organic letters  2011;13(11):2904-2907.
Three novel 1-alkyldaphnane-type diterpenes, stelleralides A–C (4–6), and five known compounds were isolated from the roots of Stellera chamaejasme L. The structures of 4–6 were elucidated by extensive spectroscopic analyses. Several isolated compounds showed potent anti-HIV activity. Compound 4 showed extremely potent anti-HIV activity (EC90 0.40 nM) with the lowest cytotoxicity (IC50 4.3 μM), and appears to be a promising compound for development into anti-AIDS clinical trial candidates.
doi:10.1021/ol200889s
PMCID: PMC3109985  PMID: 21561135
16.  Design, Synthesis, and Evaluation of Diarylpyridines and Diarylanilines as Potent Non-nucleoside HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2010;53(23):8287-8297.
Based on the structures and activities of our previously identified non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs), we designed and synthesized two sets of derivatives, diarylpyridines (A) and diarylanilines (B), and tested their anti-HIV-1 activity against infection by HIV-1 NL4-3 and IIIB in TZM-bl and MT-2 cells, respectively. The results showed that most compounds exhibited potent anti-HIV-1 activity with low nanomolar EC50 values, and some of them, such as 13m, 14c, and 14e, displayed high potency with subnanomolar EC50 values, which were more potent than etravirine (TMC125, 1) in the same assays. Notably, these compounds were also highly effective against infection by multi-RTI-resistant strains, suggesting a high potential to further develop these compounds as a novel class of NNRTIs with improved antiviral efficacy and resistance profile.
doi:10.1021/jm100738d
PMCID: PMC3050082  PMID: 21049929
17.  Antitumor agents 287. Substituted 4-amino-2H-pyran-2-one (APO) analogs reveal a new scaffold from neo-tanshinlactone with in vitro anticancer activity 
4-Amino-2H-benzo[h]chromen-2-one (ABO) and 4-amino-7,8,9,10-tetrahydro-2H-benzo[h]chromen-2-one (ATBO) analogs were found to be significant in vitro anticancer agents in our previous research. Our continuing study has now discovered a new simplified (monocyclic rather than tricyclic) class of cytotoxic agents, 4-amino-2H-pyran-2-one (APO) analogs. By incorporating various substituents on the pyranone ring, we have established preliminary structure-activity relationships (SAR). Analogs 19, 20, 23, and 26–30 displayed significant tumor cell growth inhibitory activity in vitro. The most active compound 27 exhibited ED50 values of 0.059–0.090 μM.
doi:10.1016/j.bmcl.2011.02.084
PMCID: PMC3072684  PMID: 21420855
4-Amino-2H-pyran-2-one (APO) analogs; Neo-tanshinlactone; Cytotoxicity
18.  Recent progress of research on medicinal mushrooms, foods, and other herbal products used in traditional Chinese medicine 
This article will review selected herbal products used in traditional Chinese medicine, including medicinal mushrooms (巴西蘑菇 bā xī mó gū; Agaricus blazei, 雲芝 yún zhī; Coriolus versicolor, 靈芝 líng zhī; Ganoderma lucidum, 香蕈 xiāng xùn; shiitake, Lentinus edodes, 牛樟芝 niú zhāng zhī; Taiwanofungus camphoratus), Cordyceps (冬蟲夏草 dōng chóng xià cǎo), pomegranate (石榴 shí liú; Granati Fructus), green tea (綠茶 lǜ chá; Theae Folium Non Fermentatum), garlic (大蒜 dà suàn; Allii Sativi Bulbus), turmeric (薑黃 jiāng huáng; Curcumae Longae Rhizoma), and Artemisiae Annuae Herba (青蒿 qīng hāo; sweet wormwood). Many of the discussed herbal products have gained popularity in their uses as dietary supplements for health benefits. The review will focus on the active constituents of the herbs and their bioactivities, with emphasis on the most recent progress in research for the period of 2003 to 2011.
PMCID: PMC3942920
Herbal Products; Medicinal Mushrooms; Dietary Supplements; Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
19.  Antitumor Agents 283. Further Elaboration of Desmosdumotin C Analogs as Potent Antitumor Agents: Activation of Spindle Assembly Checkpoint as Possible Mode of Action 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2011;19(5):1816-1822.
In our ongoing study of the desmosdumotin C (1) series, twelve new analogues, 21–32, mainly with structural modifications in ring-A, were prepared and evaluated for in vitro antiproliferative activity against several human tumor cell lines. Among them, the 4′-iodo-3,3,5-tripropyl-4-methoxy analogue (31) showed significant antiproliferative activity against multiple human tumor cell lines with ED50 values of 1.1–2.8 μM. Elongation of the C-3 and C-5 carbon chains reduced activity relative to propyl substituted analogues; however, activity was still better than that of natural compound 1. Among analogues with various ether groups on C-4, compounds with methyl (2) and propyl (26) ethers inhibited cell growth of multiple tumor cells lines, while 28 with an isobutyl ether showed selective antiproliferative activity against lung cancer A549 cells (ED50 1.7 μM). The gene expression profiles showed that 3 may modulate the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) and chromosome separation, and thus, arrest cells at the G2/M-phase.
doi:10.1016/j.bmc.2011.01.001
PMCID: PMC3064560  PMID: 21296579
Desmosdumotin C; Antiproliferative activity; Human tumor cell lines; Microarray
20.  Antitumor agents 279. Structure-activity relationship and in vivo studies of novel 2-(furan-2-yl)naphthalen-1-ol (FNO) analogs as potent and selective anti-breast cancer agents 
In our ongoing modification study of neo-tanshinlactone (1), we discovered 2-(furan-2-yl)naphthalen-1-ol (FNO) derivatives 3 and 4 as a new class of anti-tumor agents. To explore structure-activity relationships (SAR) of this scaffold, 18 new analogs, 6–12 and 14–24, were designed and synthesized. The C11-esters 7 and 12 displayed broad anti-tumor activity (ED50 1.1–4.3 µg/mL against seven cancer cell lines), while C11-hydroxymethyl 14 showed unique selectivity against the SKBR-3 breast cancer cell line (ED50 0.73 µg/mL). Compounds 15 and 22 displayed potent and selective anti-breast tumor activity (ED50 1.7 and 0.85 µg/mL, respectively, against MDA-MB-231). The SAR results demonstrated that the substitutions from the ring-opened lactone ring C of 1 are critical to the anti-tumor potency as well as the apparent tumor-tissue type selectivity. Treatment with 3 in Brca1f11/f11p53f5&6/f5&6Crec mice models significantly inhibited the proliferation of mammary epithelial cells and branching of mammary glands.
doi:10.1016/j.bmcl.2010.11.077
PMCID: PMC3011818  PMID: 21147529
2-(furan-2-yl)naphthalen-1-ol analogs; structure-activity relationships; anti-breast tumor agents
21.  Antitumor Agents 281. Design, Synthesis, and Biological Activity of Substituted 4-Amino-7,8,9,10-tetrahydro-2H-benzo[h]chromen-2-one Analogs (ATBO) as Potent In Vitro Anticancer Agents 
In our exploration of new biologically active chemical entities, we designed and synthesized a novel class of antitumor agents, substituted 4-amino-7,8,9,10-tetrahydro-2H-benzo[h]chromen-2-one (ATBO) analogs. We evaluated their cytotoxic activity against seven human tumor cell lines from different tissues, and established preliminary structure-activity relationships (SAR). All analogues, except 8, 9, and 25-27, displayed potent tumor cell growth inhibitory activity. Especially, compounds 15 and 33 with a 4-methoxyphenyl group at position C-4 were extremely potent with ED50 values of 0.008-0.064 μM and 0.035-0.32 μM, respectively. Compound 15 was the most potent analog compared with structurally related neo-tanshinlactone (e.g., 1) and 4-amino-2H-benzo[h]chromen-2-one (ABO, e.g., 4) analogs, and thus merits further exploration as an anti-cancer drug candidate.
doi:10.1016/j.bmcl.2010.10.074
PMCID: PMC3053047  PMID: 21087859
4-Amino-7,8,9,10-tetrahydro-2H-benzo[h]chromen-2-ones (ATBO); Cytotoxic activity; Neo-tanshinlactone
22.  Anti-AIDS agents 84†. Synthesis and anti-human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) activity of 2′-monomethyl-4-methyl- and 1′-thia-4-methyl-(3′R,4′R)-3′,4′-di-O-(S)-camphanoyl-(+)-cis-khellactone (DCK) analogs 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2010;18(20):7203-7211.
In a continuing investigation into the pharmacophores and structure-activity relationship (SAR) of (3′R,4′R)-3′,4′-di-O-(S)-camphanoyl-(+)-cis-khellactone (DCK) as a potent anti-HIV agent, 2′-monomethyl substituted 1′-oxa, 1′-thia, 1′-sulfoxide and 1′-sulfone analogs were synthesized and evaluated for inhibition of HIV-1 replication in H9 lymphocytes. Among them, 2′S-monomethyl-4-methyl DCK (5a) and 2′S-monomethyl-1′-thia-4-methyl DCK (7a) exhibited potent anti-HIV activity with EC50 values of 40.2 and 39.1 nM and remarkable therapeutic indexes of 705 and 1000, respectively, which were better than those of the lead compound DCK in the same assay. In contrast, the corresponding isomeric 2′R-monomethyl-4-methyl DCK (6) and 2′R-monomethyl-1′-thia-4-methyl DCK (8) showed much weaker inhibitory activity against HIV-1 replication. Therefore, the bioassay results suggest that the spatial orientation of the 2′-methyl group in DCK analogs can have important effects on anti-HIV activity of this compound class.
doi:10.1016/j.bmc.2010.08.031
PMCID: PMC2949462  PMID: 20846868
2′-Monomethyl-4-methyl-(3′R, 4′R)-3′; 4′-di-O-(S)-camphanoyl-(+)-cis-khellactone (DCK) analogs; 1′-Thia-4-methyl-(3′R,4′R)-3′; 4′-Di-O-(S)-camphanoyl-(+)-cis-khellactone (DCK) analogs; Anti-HIV activity; Structure-activity relationship (SAR)
23.  Antitumor Agents 282. 2′-(R)-O-Acetylglaucarubinone, a Quassinoid from Odyendyea gabonensis as a Potential Anti-breast and Anti-ovarian Cancer Agent 
Journal of natural products  2010;73(9):1553-1558.
A new quassinoid, designated 2′-(R)-O-acetylglaucarubinone (1), and seven known quassinoids (2–8) were isolated, using bioactivity-guided separation, from the bark of Odyendyea gabonensis (Pierre) Engler [syn. Quassia gabonensis Pierre (Simaroubaceae)]. The structure of 1 was determined by spectroscopic analysis, and by semi-synthesis from glaucarubolone. Complete 1H and 13C NMR assignments of compounds 1–8 were also established from detailed analysis of two-dimensional NMR spectra, and the reported configurations in odyendene (7) and odyendane (8) were corrected. Compound 1 showed potent cytotoxicity against multiple cancer cell lines. Further investigation using various types of breast and ovarian cancer cell lines suggested that 1 does not target the estrogen receptor (ER) or progesterone receptor (PR). When tested against mammary epithelial proliferation in vivo using a Brca1/p53-deficient mice model, 1 also caused significant reduction in mammary duct branching.
doi:10.1021/np100406d
PMCID: PMC2954497  PMID: 20738103
24.  Conjugates of Betulin Derivatives with AZT as Potent Anti-HIV Agents 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2010;18(17):6451-6469.
Fourteen novel conjugates of 3,28-di-O-acylbetulins with AZT were prepared as anti-HIV agents, based on our previously reported potent anti-HIV triterpene leads, including 3-O-acyl and 3,28-di-O-acylbetulins. Nine of the conjugates (49–53, 55, 56, 59, 60) exhibited potent anti-HIV activity at the submicromolar level, with EC50 values ranging from 0.040 to 0.098 µM in HIV-1NL4-3 infected MT-4 cells. These compounds were equipotent or more potent than 3-O-(3',3'-dimethylsuccinyl)betulinic acid (2), which is currently in Phase IIb anti-AIDS clinical trial.
doi:10.1016/j.bmc.2010.06.092
PMCID: PMC3016297  PMID: 20673723
HIV-1; Betulin; AZT; Conjugate
25.  Antitumor Agents 278. 4-Amino-2H-benzo[h]chromen-2-one (ABO) Analogs as Potent In Vitro Anticancer Agents 
4-Amino-2H-benzo[h]chromen-2-one (ABO) analogs were designed, synthesized, and evaluated for cytotoxic activity. Among all 4-substituted ABO analogs, cyclohexyl (12), N-methoxy-N-methylacetamide (14), and various aromatic derivatives (15-25 and 27) exhibited promising cell growth inhibitory activity with ED50 values of 0.01-2.1 μM against all tested tumor cell lines. The 4′-methoxyphenyl derivative (18) and 3′-methylphenyl derivative (24) showed the most potent antitumor activity against a broad range of cancer cell lines with ED50 values of 0.01-0.17 μM. Preliminary SAR results indicated that substitutions on nitrogen are critical to the antitumor potency.
doi:10.1016/j.bmcl.2010.05.079
PMCID: PMC2917187  PMID: 20542429
4-Amino-2H-benzo[h]chromen-2-one analogs (ABO); cytotoxic activity; structure-activity relationships

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