Molecules2015, 20(6), 10082-10094; doi:10.3390/molecules200610082 (registering DOI) - published 29 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Naphthoquinones (NQs) occur naturally in a large variety of plants. Several NQs are highly active against protozoans, amongst them the causative pathogens of neglected tropical diseases such as human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), Chagas disease and leishmaniasis. Prominent NQ-producing plants can be found among Juglans spp. (Juglandaceae) with juglone derivatives as known constituents. In this study, 36 highly variable extracts were prepared from different plant parts of J. regia, J. cinerea and J. nigra. For all extracts, antiprotozoal activity was determined against the protozoans Trypanosoma cruzi, T. brucei rhodesiense and Leishmania donovani. In addition, an LC-MS fingerprint was recorded for each extract. With each extract’s fingerprint and the data on in vitro growth inhibitory activity against T. brucei rhodesiense a Partial Least Squares (PLS) regression model was calculated in order to obtain an indication of compounds responsible for the differences in bioactivity between the 36 extracts. By means of PLS, hydrojuglone glucoside was predicted as an active compound against T. brucei and consequently isolated and tested in vitro. In fact, the pure compound showed activity against T. brucei at a significantly lower cytotoxicity towards mammalian cells than established antiprotozoal NQs such as lapachol.
Molecules2015, 20(6), 10065-10081; doi:10.3390/molecules200610065 (registering DOI) - published 29 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Forsythiae Fructus (FF), the dried fruit of Forsythia suspensa, has been widely used as a heat-clearing and detoxifying herbal medicine in China. Green FF (GF) and ripe FF (RF) are fruits of Forsythia suspensa at different maturity stages collected about a month apart. FF undergoes a complex series of physical and biochemical changes during fruit ripening. However, the clinical uses of GF and RF have not been distinguished to date. In order to comprehensively compare the chemical compositions of GF and RF, NMR-based metabolomics coupled with HPLC and UV spectrophotometry methods were adopted in this study. Furthermore, the in vitro antioxidant and antibacterial activities of 50% methanol extracts of GF and RF were also evaluated. A total of 27 metabolites were identified based on NMR data, and eight of them were found to be different between the GF and RF groups. The GF group contained higher levels of forsythoside A, forsythoside C, cornoside, rutin, phillyrin and gallic acid and lower levels of rengyol and β-glucose compared with the RF group. The antioxidant activity of GF was higher than that of RF, but no significant difference was observed between the antibacterial activities of GF and RF. Given our results showing their distinct chemical compositions, we propose that NMR-based metabolic profiling can be used to discriminate between GF and RF. Differences in the chemical and biological activities of GF and RF, as well as their clinical efficacies in traditional Chinese medicine should be systematically investigated in future studies.
Molecules2015, 20(6), 10047-10064; doi:10.3390/molecules200610047 (registering DOI) - published 29 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Corydalis Rhizoma, named YuanHu in China, is the dried tuber of Corydalis yanhusuo W.T. Wang which is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for pain relief and blood activation. Previous pharmacological studies showed that apart from analgesics, the alkaloids from YuanHu may be useful in the therapy of depression by acting on the GABA, dopamine and benzodiazepine receptors. In this study, the antidepressive effect of the total alkaloid of YuanHu (YHTA) was investigated in a chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS) rat model using 1H-NMR-based metabonomics. Plasma metabolic profiles were analyzed and multivariate data analysis was applied to discover the metabolic biomarkers in CUMS rats. Thirteen biomarkers of CUMS-introduced depression were identified, which are myo-inositol, glycerol, glycine, creatine, glutamine, glutamate, β-glucose, α-glucose, acetoacetate, 3-hydroxybutyrate, leucine and unsaturated lipids (L7, L9). Moreover, a metabolic network of the potential biomarkers in plasma perturbed by CUMS was detected. After YHTA treatment, clear separation between the model group and YHTA-treated group was achieved. The levels of all the abnormal metabolites mentioned above showed a tendency of restoration to normal levels. The results demonstrated the therapeutic efficacy of YHTA against depression and suggested that NMR-based metabolomics can provide a simple and easy tool for the evaluation of herbal therapeutics.
Molecules2015, 20(6), 10032-10046; doi:10.3390/molecules200610032 (registering DOI) - published 29 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) catalyze the transfer of the methyl group from S-adenosyl-l-methionine (AdoMet) to arginine residues. There are three types of PRMTs (I, II and III) that produce different methylation products, including asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), symmetric dimethylarginine (SDMA) and monomethylarginine (MMA). Since these different methylations can lead to different biological consequences, understanding the origin of product specificity of PRMTs is of considerable interest. In this article, the quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical (QM/MM) molecular dynamics (MD) and free energy simulations are performed to study SDMA catalyzed by the Type II PRMT5 on the basis of experimental observation that the dimethylated product is generated through a distributive fashion. The simulations have identified some important interactions and proton transfers during the catalysis. Similar to the cases involving Type I PRMTs, a conserved Glu residue (Glu435) in PRMT5 is suggested to function as general base catalyst based on the result of the simulations. Moreover, our results show that PRMT5 has an energetic preference for the first methylation on Nη1 followed by the second methylation on a different ω-guanidino nitrogen of arginine (Nη2).The first and second methyl transfers are estimated to have free energy barriers of 19–20 and 18–19 kcal/mol respectively. The computer simulations suggest a distinctive catalytic mechanism of symmetric dimethylation that seems to be different from asymmetric dimethylation.
Molecules2015, 20(6), 10004-10031; doi:10.3390/molecules200610004 (registering DOI) - published 29 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: A physicochemical characterization of the process-related impurities associated with the synthesis of pemetrexed disodium was performed. The possibility of pemetrexed impurities forming has been mentioned in literature, but no study on their structure has been published yet. This paper describes the development of the synthesis methods for these compounds and discusses their structure elucidation on the basis of two-dimensional NMR experiments and MS data. The identification of these impurities should be useful for the quality control during the production of the pemetrexed disodium salt.
Molecules2015, 20(6), 9994-10003; doi:10.3390/molecules20069994 (registering DOI) - published 29 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Three new sesquiterpene aryl esters and eight known compounds were isolated from the EtOH extract of the mycelium of Armillaria mellea. The structures of new compounds were established by analysis of their spectroscopic data. Some of the isolates showed cytotoxicity to a variety of cancer cell lines, including MCF-7, H460, HT-29, and CEM.