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Special Issue "Natural Products as Tools in Drug Discovery and Development"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Natural Products Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Francesco Epifano
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Pharmacy, University of G. d'Annunzio Chieti and Pescara, Chieti, Italy
Interests: phytochemistry; natural products; medicinal chemistry; HPLC; plant secondary metabolites; anti-inflammatory and anticancer activity, pharmacognosy
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Serena Fiorito
Website
Guest Editor
University of G. d'Annunzio Chieti and Pescara, Chieti, Italy
Interests: natural products; pharmaceutical analysis; pharmaceutical synthesis; medicinal chemistry; tossicology
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Natural products feature great structural and chemical diversity and constitute a wide library of small molecules, which are often templates for novel discoveries in medicinal chemistry and pharmacology. As witnessed by the recent literature production in this field, natural compounds still represent the best sources of drugs and drug leads. In the last two decades, nature has been re-discovered as the new horizon to face the novel challenges for the therapy of acute and chronic disease affecting humans, like cancer and microbial syndromes, for which the use of drugs has failed due to resistance increasing over time.
The aim of this Special Issue is to collect full papers, short communications, and review articles from research groups all over the world to show the most recent findings about the isolation, structural characterization, synthesis, and biological activity of natural products of microbial, fungal, and plant origin from known and novel sources and in the use of such compounds as tools for the design and development of new generations of drugs.
This Special Issue will be of great interest for several categories of scientists operating in natural product chemistry, medicinal chemistry phytochemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology, pharmacognosy, and others.

Prof. Dr. Francesco Epifano
Dr. Serena Fiorito
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Biologically active compounds;
  • Chemistry of natural products;
  • Drug discovery;
  • Food chemistry;
  • Food plants;
  • Medicinal chemistry;
  • Medicinal plants;
  • Natural products;
  • Pharmacognosy;
  • Phytochemistry;
  • Secondary metabolites.

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Tepary Bean (Phaseolus acutifolius) Lectins Induce Apoptosis and Cell Arrest in G0/G1 by P53(Ser46) Phosphorylation in Colon Cancer Cells
Molecules 2020, 25(5), 1021; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25051021 - 25 Feb 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
A Tepary bean lectin fraction (TBLF) has been studied because it exhibits differential cytotoxic and anticancer effects on colon cancer. The present work focuses on the evaluation of the apoptotic mechanism of action on colon cancer cells. Initially, lethal concentrations (LC50) [...] Read more.
A Tepary bean lectin fraction (TBLF) has been studied because it exhibits differential cytotoxic and anticancer effects on colon cancer. The present work focuses on the evaluation of the apoptotic mechanism of action on colon cancer cells. Initially, lethal concentrations (LC50) were obtained for the three studied cell lines (HT-29, RKO and SW-480). HT-29 showed the highest LC50, 10 and 100 times higher than that of RKO and SW-480 cells, respectively. Apoptosis was evaluated by flow cytometry, where HT-29 cells showed the highest levels of early and total apoptosis, caspases activity was confirmed and necrosis was discarded. The effect on cell cycle arrest was shown in the G0/G1 phase. Specific apoptosis-related gene expression was determined, where an increase in p53 and a decrease in Bcl-2 were observed. Expression of p53 gene showed the maximum level at 8 h with an important decrease at 12 and 24 h, also the phosphorylated p53(ser46) increased at 8 h. Our results show that TBLF induces apoptosis in colon cancer cells by p-p53(ser46) involvement. Further studies will focus on studying the specific signal transduction pathway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products as Tools in Drug Discovery and Development)
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Open AccessCommunication
Characterization of Nine Compounds Isolated from the Acid Hydrolysate of Lonicera fulvotomentosa Hsu et S. C. Cheng and Evaluation of Their In Vitro Activity towards HIV Protease
Molecules 2019, 24(24), 4526; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24244526 - 11 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In this study, we isolated nine compounds from the acid hydrolysate of the flower buds of Lonicera fulvotomentosa Hsu et S. C. Cheng and characterized their chemical structures using 1H-NMR, 13C-NMR, and electron ionization mass spectroscopy (EI-MS). These compounds were identified [...] Read more.
In this study, we isolated nine compounds from the acid hydrolysate of the flower buds of Lonicera fulvotomentosa Hsu et S. C. Cheng and characterized their chemical structures using 1H-NMR, 13C-NMR, and electron ionization mass spectroscopy (EI-MS). These compounds were identified as β-sitosterol (1), 5,5′-dibutoxy-2,2′-bifuran (2), nonacosane-10-ol (3), ethyl (3β)-3,23-dihydroxyolean-12-en-28-oate (4), oleanolic acid (5), ethyl caffeate (6), caffeic acid (7), isovanillin (8), and hederagenin (9), with 4 as a new triterpene compound. Inhibitory activity against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) protease was also evaluated for the compounds, and only ethyl caffeate, caffeic acid, and isovanillin (6, 7, and 8) exhibited inhibitory effects, with IC50 values of 1.0 μM, 1.5 μM, and 3.5 μM, respectively. Molecular docking with energy minimization and subsequent molecular dynamic (MD) simulation showed that ethyl caffeate and caffeic acid bound to the active site of HIV protease, while isovanillin drifted out from the active site and dissociated into bulk water during MD simulations, and most of the binding residues of HIV protease have been previously identified for HIV protease inhibitors. These results suggest that caffeic acid derivatives may possess inhibitory activities towards HIV protease other than previously reported inhibitory activities against HIV integrase, and thus ethyl caffeate and caffeic acid could be used as lead compounds in developing potential HIV protease inhibitors, and possibly even dual-function inhibitors against HIV. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products as Tools in Drug Discovery and Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Synthesis of Daidzein Glycosides, α-Tocopherol Glycosides, Hesperetin Glycosides by Bioconversion and Their Potential for Anti-Allergic Functional-Foods and Cosmetics
Molecules 2019, 24(16), 2975; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24162975 - 16 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Daidzein is a common isoflavone, having multiple biological effects such as anti-inflammation, anti-allergy, and anti-aging. α-Tocopherol is the tocopherol isoform with the highest vitamin E activity including anti-allergic activity and anti-cancer activity. Hesperetin is a flavone, which shows potent anti-inflammatory effects. These compounds [...] Read more.
Daidzein is a common isoflavone, having multiple biological effects such as anti-inflammation, anti-allergy, and anti-aging. α-Tocopherol is the tocopherol isoform with the highest vitamin E activity including anti-allergic activity and anti-cancer activity. Hesperetin is a flavone, which shows potent anti-inflammatory effects. These compounds have shortcomings, i.e., water-insolubility and poor absorption after oral administration. The glycosylation of bioactive compounds can enhance their water-solubility, physicochemical stability, intestinal absorption, and biological half-life, and improve their bio- and pharmacological properties. They were transformed by cultured Nicotiana tabacum cells to 7-β-glucoside and 7-β-gentiobioside of daidzein, and 3′- and 7-β-glucosides, 3′,7-β-diglucoside, and 7-β-gentiobioside of hesperetin. Daidzein and α-tocopherol were glycosylated by galactosylation with β-glucosidase to give 4′- and 7-β-galactosides of daidzein, which were new compounds, and α-tocopherol 6-β-galactoside. These nine glycosides showed higher anti-allergic activity, i.e., inhibitory activity toward histamine release from rat peritoneal mast cells, than their respective aglycones. In addition, these glycosides showed higher tyrosinase inhibitory activity than the corresponding aglycones. Glycosylation of daidzein, α-tocopherol, and hesperetin greatly improved their biological activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products as Tools in Drug Discovery and Development)
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Open AccessCommunication
The Difference in Cytotoxic Activity between Two Optical Isomers of Gelsemine from Gelsemium elegans Benth. on PC12 Cells
Molecules 2019, 24(10), 2004; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24102004 - 25 May 2019
Abstract
Two optical isomers, +/− gelsemine (1, 2), together with one known compound were isolated from the whole plant of G. elegans. The structures of the separated constituents were elucidated on 1D and 2D (1H-1H COSY, HMBC, HSQC) NMR [...] Read more.
Two optical isomers, +/− gelsemine (1, 2), together with one known compound were isolated from the whole plant of G. elegans. The structures of the separated constituents were elucidated on 1D and 2D (1H-1H COSY, HMBC, HSQC) NMR spectroscopy and high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS). The isolated alkaloids were tested in vitro for cytotoxic potential against PC12 cells by the MTT assay. As a result, (+) gelsemine (compound 1) exhibited cytotoxic activity against PC12 cells with an IC50 value of 31.59 μM, while (−) gelsemine (compound 2) was not cytotoxic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products as Tools in Drug Discovery and Development)
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Open AccessCommunication
UHPLC-UV/Vis Quantitative Analysis of Hydroxylated and O-prenylated Coumarins in Pomegranate Seed Extracts
Molecules 2019, 24(10), 1963; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24101963 - 22 May 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
A simple and rapid analytical UHPLC methodology with spectrophotometric (UV/Vis) detection, coupled with different extraction procedures, has been perfected to investigate the presence of biologically active O-prenylated umbelliferone derivatives, such as auraptene and umbelliprenin, in pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) seed extracts. [...] Read more.
A simple and rapid analytical UHPLC methodology with spectrophotometric (UV/Vis) detection, coupled with different extraction procedures, has been perfected to investigate the presence of biologically active O-prenylated umbelliferone derivatives, such as auraptene and umbelliprenin, in pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) seed extracts. Absolute ethanol was the most efficient extraction solvent in terms of yields, after a short ultrasound-assisted. The highest concentration values recorded under these experimental conditions were 1.99 μg/g of dry extract and 6.53 μg/g for auraptene and umbelliprenin, respectively. The parent metabolite umbelliferone was also detected (0.67 μg/g). The extraction and UHPLC analytical methodology set up in the present study proved to be an efficient, powerful, and versatile technique for the simultaneous qualitative analysis and quantification of oxyprenylated coumarins in pomegranate seed extracts. The characterization of such secondary metabolites in the mentioned phytopreparation represents, to the best of our knowledge, the first example in the literature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products as Tools in Drug Discovery and Development)
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