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Special Issue "Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 August 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Silvie Rimpelová
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, University of Chemistry and Technology Prague, Technická 5, Prague 6, Czech Republic
Interests: biocompatible materials; mammalian cells; cell adhesion; antimicrobial activity; anticancer activity; plasma treatment; laser modification; fluorescence microscopy; photodynamic therapy; theranostics
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Natural products and semi-synthetic compounds inspired by these molecules have recently regained increased attention by the scientific community. Based on a great structural and chemical diversity of natural products and related compounds, they have become valid sources for drug leads documented by, e.g., the fact that 60% of chemotherapeutic agents originate from natural products, mainly medicinal plants. However, natural products do not play the forefront role only in anticancer agents, but they also help to combat microbial infections and inflammatory diseases. Moreover, nowadays, there is a very common concept to use natural products also as starting material for semi-synthesis of novel compounds with improved properties. The semi-synthesis enables researchers not only to fine-tune the desired activities but also to create multimodal and theranostic compounds.

The aim of this Special Issue, “Natural product-inspired molecules: from weed to remedy,” is to underline the most recent discoveries and progress in all fields of science dealing with natural products of all sources and related semi-synthetic compounds with the main emphasis on chemistry, semi-synthesis, isolation, identification, chemical characterization, structure-activity relationship, imaging properties, in silico modeling, bioactivity, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antimicrobial potential, synergic effects, but also beyond. Original full research articles as well as review articles on this topic from research groups all over the world are welcome in order to disseminate the scientific knowledge in these uneasy times of SARS-Cov-2. Researchers working in the field of natural products and related disciplines are encouraged to publish their recent findings in this Special Issue of Molecules.

Dr. Silvie Rimpelova
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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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

  • natural products
  • secondary metabolites
  • biological activity
  • structure-activity relationship
  • anticancer potential
  • anti-inflammatory activity
  • antiviral and antimicrobial activity
  • semi-synthesis and chemical properties
  • drug discovery

Published Papers (32 papers)

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Research

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Article
Interaction of Natural Compounds in Licorice and Turmeric with HIV-NCp7 Zinc Finger Domain: Potential Relevance to the Mechanism of Antiviral Activity
Molecules 2021, 26(12), 3563; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26123563 - 10 Jun 2021
Viewed by 318
Abstract
Nucleocapsid proteins (NCp) are zinc finger (ZF) proteins, and they play a central role in HIV virus replication, mainly by interacting with nucleic acids. Therefore, they are potential targets for anti-HIV therapy. Natural products have been shown to be able to inhibit HIV, [...] Read more.
Nucleocapsid proteins (NCp) are zinc finger (ZF) proteins, and they play a central role in HIV virus replication, mainly by interacting with nucleic acids. Therefore, they are potential targets for anti-HIV therapy. Natural products have been shown to be able to inhibit HIV, such as turmeric and licorice, which is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine. Liquiritin (LQ), isoliquiritin (ILQ), glycyrrhizic acid (GL), glycyrrhetinic acid (GA) and curcumin (CUR), which were the major active components, were herein chosen to study their interactions with HIV-NCp7 C-terminal zinc finger, aiming to find the potential active compounds and reveal the mechanism involved. The stacking interaction between NCp7 tryptophan and natural compounds was evaluated by fluorescence. To elucidate the binding mode, mass spectrometry was used to characterize the reaction mixture between zinc finger proteins and active compounds. Subsequently, circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy and molecular docking were used to validate and reveal the binding mode from a structural perspective. The results showed that ILQ has the strongest binding ability among the tested compounds, followed by curcumin, and the interaction between ILQ and the NCp7 zinc finger peptide was mediated by a noncovalent interaction. This study provided a scientific basis for the antiviral activity of turmeric and licorice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Article
Malaysian Propolis and Metformin Synergistically Mitigate Kidney Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats
Molecules 2021, 26(11), 3441; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26113441 - 05 Jun 2021
Viewed by 491
Abstract
Diabetic nephropathy is reported to occur as a result of the interactions between several pathophysiological disturbances, as well as renal oxidative stress and inflammation. We examined the effect of Malaysian propolis (MP), which has anti-hyperglycemic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, on diabetes-induced nephropathy. Diabetic [...] Read more.
Diabetic nephropathy is reported to occur as a result of the interactions between several pathophysiological disturbances, as well as renal oxidative stress and inflammation. We examined the effect of Malaysian propolis (MP), which has anti-hyperglycemic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, on diabetes-induced nephropathy. Diabetic rats were either treated with distilled water (diabetic control (DC) group), MP (300 mg/kg b.w./day), metformin (300 mg/kg b.w./day) or MP + metformin for four weeks. We found significant increases in serum creatinine, urea and uric acid levels, decreases in serum sodium and chloride levels, and increase in kidney lactate dehydrogenase activity in DC group. Furthermore, malondialdehyde level increased significantly, while kidney antioxidant enzymes activities, glutathione level and total antioxidant capacity decreased significantly in DC group. Similarly, kidney immunoexpression of nuclear factor kappa B, tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin (IL)-1β and caspase-3 increased significantly, while IL-10 immunoexpression decreased significantly in DC group relative to normal control group. Histopathological observations for DC group corroborated the biochemical data. Intervention with MP, metformin or both significantly mitigated these effects and improved renal function, with the best outcome following the combined therapy. MP attenuates diabetic nephropathy and exhibits combined beneficial effect with metformin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Article
Identification of the Active Principle Conferring Anti-Inflammatory and Antinociceptive Properties in Bamboo Plant
Molecules 2021, 26(10), 3054; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26103054 - 20 May 2021
Viewed by 426
Abstract
Early plants began colonizing earth about 450 million years ago. During the process of coevolution, their metabolic cellular pathways produced a myriad of natural chemicals, many of which remain uncharacterized biologically. Popular preparations containing some of these molecules have been used medicinally for [...] Read more.
Early plants began colonizing earth about 450 million years ago. During the process of coevolution, their metabolic cellular pathways produced a myriad of natural chemicals, many of which remain uncharacterized biologically. Popular preparations containing some of these molecules have been used medicinally for thousands of years. In Brazilian folk medicine, plant extracts from the bamboo plant Guadua paniculata Munro have been used for the treatment of infections and pain. However, the chemical basis of these therapeutic effects has not yet been identified. Here, we performed protein biochemistry and downstream pharmacological assays to determine the mechanisms underlying the anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive effects of an aqueous extract of the G. paniculata rhizome, which we termed AqGP. The anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive effects of AqGP were assessed in mice. We identified and purified a protein (AgGP), with an amino acid sequence similar to that of thaumatins (~20 kDa), capable of repressing inflammation through downregulation of neutrophil recruitment and of decreasing hyperalgesia in mice. In conclusion, we have identified the molecule and the molecular mechanism responsible for the anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive properties of a plant commonly used in Brazilian folk medicine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Article
Occurrence and Determination of Carotenoids and Polyphenols in Different Paprika Powders from Organic and Conventional Production
Molecules 2021, 26(10), 2980; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26102980 - 17 May 2021
Viewed by 421
Abstract
Paprika powder is a good source of different carotenoids and polyphenols, which play a key role in preventing certain diseases (some kinds of cancer and cardiovascular diseases). They can also be used as natural food colorants. Organic production is characterized by strict rules, [...] Read more.
Paprika powder is a good source of different carotenoids and polyphenols, which play a key role in preventing certain diseases (some kinds of cancer and cardiovascular diseases). They can also be used as natural food colorants. Organic production is characterized by strict rules, but products obtained in this way contain more bioactive compounds, such as carotenoids and polyphenols. The aim of this study was to measure and identify carotenoids and polyphenols in different paprika samples (sweet, hot, smoked, and chili) obtained by organic and conventional production. Quantitative and qualitative carotenoid and polyphenols analysis showed that the experimental samples contained different concentrations of these compounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Article
Evaluation of Quality, Antioxidant Capacity, and Digestibility of Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L. cv Blanoro) Stored under N2 and CO2 Atmospheres
Molecules 2021, 26(9), 2773; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26092773 - 08 May 2021
Viewed by 367
Abstract
The aim of this work was to monitor the quality, antioxidant capacity and digestibility of chickpea exposed to different modified atmospheres. Chickpea quality (proximal analysis, color, texture, and water absorption) and the antioxidant capacity of free, conjugated, and bound phenol fractions obtained from [...] Read more.
The aim of this work was to monitor the quality, antioxidant capacity and digestibility of chickpea exposed to different modified atmospheres. Chickpea quality (proximal analysis, color, texture, and water absorption) and the antioxidant capacity of free, conjugated, and bound phenol fractions obtained from raw and cooked chickpea, were determined. Cooked chickpea was exposed to N2 and CO2 atmospheres for 0, 25, and 50 days, and the antioxidant capacity was analyzed by DPPH (2,2′-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl), ABTS (2,2′-azino-bis-[3ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid]), and total phenols. After in vitro digestion, the antioxidant capacity was measured by DPPH, ABTS, FRAP (ferric reducing antioxidant power), and AAPH (2,2′-Azobis [2-methylpropionamidine]). Additionally, quantification of total phenols, and UPLC-MS profile were determined. The results indicated that this grain contain high quality and high protein (18.38%). Bound phenolic compounds showed the highest amount (105.6 mg GAE/100 g) and the highest antioxidant capacity in all techniques. Cooked chickpeas maintained their quality and antioxidant capacity during 50 days of storage at 4 and −20 °C under a nitrogen atmosphere. Free and conjugated phenolic compounds could be hydrolyzed by digestive enzymes, increasing their bioaccessibility and their antioxidant capacity during each step of digestion. The majority compound in all samples was enterodiol, prevailing the flavonoid type in the rest of the identified compounds. Chickpea contains biological interest compounds with antioxidant potential suggesting that this legume can be exploited for various technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Article
Comparison of the Effects of Conching Parameters on the Contents of Three Dominant Flavan3-ols, Rheological Properties and Sensory Quality in Chocolate Milk Mass Based on Liquor from Unroasted Cocoa Beans
Molecules 2021, 26(9), 2502; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26092502 - 25 Apr 2021
Viewed by 384
Abstract
The content of polyphenols in chocolate depends on many factors related to the properties of raw material and manufacturing parameters. The trend toward developing chocolates made from unroasted cocoa beans encourages research in this area. In addition, modern customers attach great importance to [...] Read more.
The content of polyphenols in chocolate depends on many factors related to the properties of raw material and manufacturing parameters. The trend toward developing chocolates made from unroasted cocoa beans encourages research in this area. In addition, modern customers attach great importance to how the food they consume benefits their bodies. One such benefit that consumers value is the preservation of natural antioxidant compounds in food products (e.g., polyphenols). Therefore, in our study we attempted to determine the relationship between variable parameters at the conching stage (i.e., temperature and time of) and the content of dominant polyphenols (i.e.,catechins, epicatechins, and procyanidin B2) in chocolate milk mass (CMM) obtained from unroasted cocoa beans. Increasing the conching temperature from 50 to 60 °C decreased the content of three basic flavan-3-ols. The highest number of these compounds was determined when the process was carried out at 50 °C. However, the time that caused the least degradation of these compounds differed. For catechin, it was 2 h; for epicatechin it was 1 h; and for procyanidin it was 3 h. The influence of both the temperature and conching time on the rheological properties of chocolate milk mass was demonstrated. At 50 °C, the viscosity and the yield stress of the conched mass showed its highest value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Article
Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles and Zinc Sulfate Impact Physiological Parameters and Boosts Lipid Peroxidation in Soil Grown Coriander Plants (Coriandrum sativum)
Molecules 2021, 26(7), 1998; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26071998 - 01 Apr 2021
Viewed by 384
Abstract
The objective of this study was to determine the oxidative stress and the physiological and antioxidant responses of coriander plants (Coriandrum sativum) grown for 58 days in soil with zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) and zinc sulfate (ZnSO4) at [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to determine the oxidative stress and the physiological and antioxidant responses of coriander plants (Coriandrum sativum) grown for 58 days in soil with zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) and zinc sulfate (ZnSO4) at concentrations of 0, 100, 200, 300, and 400 mg of Zn/kg of soil. The results revealed that all Zn compounds increased the total chlorophyll content (CHLt) by at least 45%, compared to the control group; however, with 400 mg/kg of ZnSO4, chlorophyll accumulation decreased by 34.6%. Zn determination by induction-plasma-coupled atomic emission spectrometry (ICP–AES) showed that Zn absorption in roots and shoots occurred in plants exposed to ZnSO4 at all concentrations, which resulted in high levels of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and malondialdehyde (MDA). Only at 400 mg/kg of ZnSO4, a 78.6% decrease in the MDA levels was observed. According to the results, the ZnSO4 treatments were more effective than the ZnO NPs to increase the antioxidant activity of catalase (CAT), ascorbate peroxidase (APX), and peroxidases (POD). The results corroborate that phytotoxicity was higher in plants subjected to ZnSO4 compared to treatments with ZnO NPs, which suggests that the toxicity was due to Zn accumulation in the tissues by absorbing dissolved Zn++ ions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Article
Insight into Gentisic Acid Antidiabetic Potential Using In Vitro and In Silico Approaches
Molecules 2021, 26(7), 1932; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26071932 - 30 Mar 2021
Viewed by 381
Abstract
Numerous scientific studies have confirmed the beneficial therapeutic effects of phenolic acids. Among them gentisic acid (GA), a phenolic acid extensively found in many fruit and vegetables has been associated with an enormous confirmed health benefit. The present study aims to evaluate the [...] Read more.
Numerous scientific studies have confirmed the beneficial therapeutic effects of phenolic acids. Among them gentisic acid (GA), a phenolic acid extensively found in many fruit and vegetables has been associated with an enormous confirmed health benefit. The present study aims to evaluate the antidiabetic potential of gentisic acid and highlight its mechanisms of action following in silico and in vitro approaches. The in silico study was intended to predict the interaction of GA with eight different receptors highly involved in the management and complications of diabetes (dipeptidyl-peptidase 4 (DPP4), protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1B), free fatty acid receptor 1 (FFAR1), aldose reductase (AldR), glycogen phosphorylase (GP), α-amylase, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR-γ) and α-glucosidase), while the in vitro study studied the potential inhibitory effect of GA against α-amylase and α-glucosidase. The results indicate that GA interacted moderately with most of the receptors and had a moderate inhibitory activity during the in vitro tests. The study therefore encourages further in vivo studies to confirm the given results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Article
Antioxidant and Antibacterial Activity of Essential Oils and Hydroethanolic Extracts of Greek Oregano (O. vulgare L. subsp. hirtum (Link) Ietswaart) and Common Oregano (O. vulgare L. subsp. vulgare)
Molecules 2021, 26(4), 988; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26040988 - 13 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 743
Abstract
Greek oregano and common oregano were compared in respect of the antioxidant and antibacterial activity of the corresponding essential oils and hydroethanolic extracts in relation with their chemical profile. The chemical composition of essential oils was determined by GC-MS and GC-FID, while extracts [...] Read more.
Greek oregano and common oregano were compared in respect of the antioxidant and antibacterial activity of the corresponding essential oils and hydroethanolic extracts in relation with their chemical profile. The chemical composition of essential oils was determined by GC-MS and GC-FID, while extracts (phenolic acids and flavonoids fractions) were analyzed by HPLC-DAD. Based on given volatiles, the investigated subspecies represented two chemotypes: a carvacrol/γ-terpinene/p-cymene type in the case of Greek oregano and a sabinyl/cymyl type rich in terpinen-4-ol in common oregano. Within non-volatile phenolic compounds, rosmarinic acid appeared to dominate in both subspecies. Lithospermic acid B, chlorogenic acid and isovitexin were present only in Greek oregano extracts. However, the total content of flavonoids was higher in common oregano extracts. The essential oil and extract of Greek oregano revealed visibly stronger antibacterial activity (expressed as MIC and MBC) than common oregano, whereas the antioxidant potential (determined by DPPH, ABTS and FRAP) of these extracts was almost equal for both subspecies. In the case of Origanum plants, the potential application of essential oils and extracts as antiseptic and antioxidant agents in the food industry should be preceded by subspecies identification followed by recognition of their chemotype concerning both terpene and phenolics composition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
Article
Crataegus laevigata Suppresses LPS-Induced Oxidative Stress during Inflammatory Response in Human Keratinocytes by Regulating the MAPKs/AP-1, NFκB, and NFAT Signaling Pathways
Molecules 2021, 26(4), 869; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26040869 - 06 Feb 2021
Viewed by 745
Abstract
Crataegus laevigata belongs to the family Rosaceae, which has been widely investigated for pharmacological effects on the circulatory and digestive systems. However, there is limited understanding about its anti-oxidative stress and anti-inflammatory effects on skin. In this study, 70% ethanol C. laevigata berry [...] Read more.
Crataegus laevigata belongs to the family Rosaceae, which has been widely investigated for pharmacological effects on the circulatory and digestive systems. However, there is limited understanding about its anti-oxidative stress and anti-inflammatory effects on skin. In this study, 70% ethanol C. laevigata berry extract (CLE) was investigated on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated keratinocytes. The LPS-induced overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) was suppressed by the treatment with CLE. In response to ROS induction, the overexpression of inflammatory regulating signaling molecules including mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK)/activator protein-1 (AP-1), nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cell (NF-κB), and nuclear factor of activated T-cells (NFAT) were reduced in CLE-treated human keratinocytes. Consequently, CLE significantly suppressed the mRNA levels of pro-inflammatory chemokines and interleukins in LPS-stimulated cells. Our results indicated that CLE has protective effects against LPS-induced injury in an in vitro model and is a potential alternative agent for inflammatory treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Article
Molecular Structure, In Vitro Anticancer Study and Molecular Docking of New Phosphate Derivatives of Betulin
Molecules 2021, 26(3), 737; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26030737 - 31 Jan 2021
Viewed by 777
Abstract
A series of 30-diethylphosphate derivatives of betulin were synthesized and evaluated for their in vitro cytotoxic activity against human cancer cell lines, such as amelanotic melanoma (C-32), glioblastoma (SNB-19), and two lines of breast cancer (T47D, MDA-MB-231). The molecular structure and activities of [...] Read more.
A series of 30-diethylphosphate derivatives of betulin were synthesized and evaluated for their in vitro cytotoxic activity against human cancer cell lines, such as amelanotic melanoma (C-32), glioblastoma (SNB-19), and two lines of breast cancer (T47D, MDA-MB-231). The molecular structure and activities of the new compounds were also compared with their 29-phosphonate analogs. Compounds 7a and 7b showed the highest activity against C-32 and SNB-19 cell lines. The IC50 values for 7a were 2.15 and 0.91 μM, and, for 7b, they were 0.76 and 0.8 μM for the C-32 and SNB-19 lines, respectively. The most potent compounds, 7a and 7b, were tested for their effects on markers of apoptosis, such as H3, TP53, BAX, and BCL-2. For the whole series of phosphate derivatives, a lipophilicity study was performed, and the ADME parameters were calculated. The most active products were docked to the active site of the EGFR protein. The relative binding affinity of selected phosphate betulin derivatives toward EGFR was compared with standard erlotinib on the basis of ChemScore and KDEEP score. Positively, all derivatives docked inside the cavity and showed significant interactions. Moreover, a molecular dynamics study also reveals that ligands 7a,b form stable complexes and the plateau phase started after 7 ns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Article
Anticancer Potential of Sutherlandia frutescens and Xysmalobium undulatum in LS180 Colorectal Cancer Mini-Tumors
Molecules 2021, 26(3), 605; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26030605 - 25 Jan 2021
Viewed by 518
Abstract
Colorectal cancer remains to be one of the leading causes of death worldwide, with millions of patients diagnosed each year. Although chemotherapeutic drugs are routinely used to treat cancer, these treatments have severe side effects. As a result, the use of herbal medicines [...] Read more.
Colorectal cancer remains to be one of the leading causes of death worldwide, with millions of patients diagnosed each year. Although chemotherapeutic drugs are routinely used to treat cancer, these treatments have severe side effects. As a result, the use of herbal medicines has gained increasing popularity as a treatment for cancer. In this study, two South African medicinal plants widely used to treat various diseases, Sutherlandia frutescens and Xysmalobium undulatum, were evaluated for potential activity against colorectal cancer. This potential activity for the treatment of colorectal cancer was assessed relative to the known chemotherapeutic drug, paclitaxel. The cytotoxic activity was considered in an advanced three-dimensional (3D) sodium alginate encapsulated LS180 colorectal cancer functional spheroid model, cultured in clinostat-based rotating bioreactors. The LS180 cell mini-tumors were treated for 96 h with two concentrations of each of the crude aqueous extracts or paclitaxel. S. frutescens extract markedly decreased the soluble protein content, while decreasing ATP and AK per protein content to below detectable limits after only 24 h exposure. X. undulatum extract also decreased the soluble protein content, cell viability, and glucose consumption. The results suggested that the two phytomedicines have potential to become a source of new treatments against colorectal cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Article
Caffeoylquinic Acid Derivatives of Purple Sweet Potato as Modulators of Mitochondrial Function in Mouse Primary Hepatocytes
Molecules 2021, 26(2), 319; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26020319 - 09 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 857
Abstract
Owing to their antioxidant properties, caffeoylquinic acid (CQA)-derivatives could potentially improve the impaired metabolism in hepatic cells, however, their effect on mitochondrial function has not been demonstrated yet. Here, we evaluated the impact of three CQA-derivatives extracted from purple sweet potato, namely 5-CQA, [...] Read more.
Owing to their antioxidant properties, caffeoylquinic acid (CQA)-derivatives could potentially improve the impaired metabolism in hepatic cells, however, their effect on mitochondrial function has not been demonstrated yet. Here, we evaluated the impact of three CQA-derivatives extracted from purple sweet potato, namely 5-CQA, 3,4- and 4,5-diCQA, on mitochondrial activity in primary hepatocytes using an extracellular flux analyzer. Notably, an increase of maximal respiration and spare respiratory capacity were observed when 5-CQA and 3,4-diCQA were added to the system indicating the improved mitochondrial function. Moreover, 3,4-diCQA was shown to considerably increase glycolytic reserve which is a measure of cell capability to respond to an energy demand through glycolysis. Conversely, 4,5-diCQA did not modify mitochondrial activity but increased glycolysis at low concentration in primary hepatocytes. All compounds tested improved cellular capacity to oxidize fatty acids. Overall, our results demonstrated the potential of test CQA-derivatives to modify mitochondrial function in hepatic cells. It is especially relevant in case of dysfunctional mitochondria in hepatocytes linked to hepatic steatosis during obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Article
Curcumin Analogue L48H37 Suppresses Human Osteosarcoma U2OS and MG-63 Cells’ Migration and Invasion in Culture by Inhibition of uPA via the JAK/STAT Signaling Pathway
Molecules 2021, 26(1), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26010030 - 23 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 755
Abstract
Osteosarcoma, the most prevalent malignant bone tumor in the pediatric age group, is responsible for the great majority of cancer-associated deaths owing to its highly metastatic potential. The anti-metastatic effects of the new curcumin analogue L48H37 in human osteosarcoma are still unknown; hence, [...] Read more.
Osteosarcoma, the most prevalent malignant bone tumor in the pediatric age group, is responsible for the great majority of cancer-associated deaths owing to its highly metastatic potential. The anti-metastatic effects of the new curcumin analogue L48H37 in human osteosarcoma are still unknown; hence, we investigated whether L48H37 represses human osteosarcoma cells’ biological behavior of migratory potential and invasive activities and attempted to delve into its underlying mechanisms. L48H37 up to 5 μM inhibited, without cytotoxicity, the motility, migration, and invasion of human osteosarcoma U2OS and MG-63 cells. In U2OS cells, the human protease array revealed an obvious decrease in urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) expression after L48H37 treatment, and L48H37 actually reduced the level, protein and mRNA expression, and promoter activity of uPA dose-dependently. L48H37 decreased the phosphorylation of STAT3, JAK1, JAK2, and JAK3 in U2OS cells, but did not affect the phosphorylation of ERK, JNK, p38, and Akt. Using colivelin, an activator of STAT3, the L48H37-induced decrease in uPA and migratory potential could be countered as expected. Collectively, L48H37 represses the invasion and migration capabilities of U2OS and MG-63 cells by the suppression of uPA expression and the inhibition of JAK/STAT signaling. These results suggest that L48H37 may be a potential candidate for anti-metastatic treatment of human osteosarcoma. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Article
Morusin Suppresses Cancer Cell Invasion and MMP-2 Expression through ERK Signaling in Human Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma
Molecules 2020, 25(20), 4851; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25204851 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 547
Abstract
The most important cause of treatment failure of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) patients is metastasis, including regional lymph nodes or distant metastasis, resulting in a poor prognosis and challenges for treatment. In the present study, we investigated the in vitro anti- tumoral properties of [...] Read more.
The most important cause of treatment failure of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) patients is metastasis, including regional lymph nodes or distant metastasis, resulting in a poor prognosis and challenges for treatment. In the present study, we investigated the in vitro anti- tumoral properties of morusin on human nasopharyngeal carcinoma HONE-1, NPC-39, and NPC-BM cells. Our study revealed that morusin suppressed the migration and invasion abilities of the three NPC cells. Gelatin zymography assay and Western blotting demonstrated that the enzyme activity and the level of matrix metalloproteinases-2 (MMP-2) protein were downregulated by the treatment of morusin. Mitogen-activated protein kinase proteins were examined to identify the signaling pathway, which showed that phosphorylation of ERK1/2 was inhibited after the treatment of morusin. In summary, our data showed that morusin inhibited the migration and invasion of NPC cells by suppressing the expression of MMP-2 by downregulating the ERK1/2 signaling pathway, suggesting that morusin may be a potential candidate for chemoprevention or adjuvant therapy of NPC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Article
Pimpinella anisum Essential Oil Nanoemulsion Toxicity against Tribolium castaneum? Shedding Light on Its Interactions with Aspartate Aminotransferase and Alanine Aminotransferase by Molecular Docking
Molecules 2020, 25(20), 4841; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25204841 - 20 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 891
Abstract
The insecticidal activity is the result of a series of complex interactions between toxic substances as ligands and insect’s enzymes as targets. Actually, synthetic insecticides used in pest control programs are harmful to the environment and may affect non-target organisms; thus, the use [...] Read more.
The insecticidal activity is the result of a series of complex interactions between toxic substances as ligands and insect’s enzymes as targets. Actually, synthetic insecticides used in pest control programs are harmful to the environment and may affect non-target organisms; thus, the use of natural products as pest control agents can be very attractive. In the present work, the toxic effect of aniseed (Pimpinella anisum L.) essential oil (EO) and its nanoemulsion (NE) against the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum, has been evaluated. To assess the EO mode of action, the impact of sub-lethal concentrations of aniseed EO and NE was evaluated on enzymatic and macromolecular parameters of the beetles, including aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), total protein, total lipids and glucose. Finally, a molecular docking study was conducted to predict the mode of action of the major EO and NE components namely E-anethole, Limonene, alpha-himalachalene, trans-Verbenol and Linalool at binding site of the enzymes AST and ALT. Herein, the binding location of the main compounds in both proteins are discussed suggesting the possible interactions between the considered enzymes and ligands. The obtained results open new horizons to understand the evolution and response of insect-plant compounds interactions and their effect predicted at the molecular levels and side effects of both animal and human. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Article
Cannabinoid Combination Induces Cytoplasmic Vacuolation in MCF-7 Breast Cancer Cells
Molecules 2020, 25(20), 4682; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25204682 - 14 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1073
Abstract
This study evaluated the synergistic anti-cancer potential of cannabinoid combinations across the MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 human breast cancer cell lines. Cannabinoids were combined and their synergistic interactions were evaluated using median effect analysis. The most promising cannabinoid combination (C6) consisted of tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabigerol [...] Read more.
This study evaluated the synergistic anti-cancer potential of cannabinoid combinations across the MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 human breast cancer cell lines. Cannabinoids were combined and their synergistic interactions were evaluated using median effect analysis. The most promising cannabinoid combination (C6) consisted of tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), and cannabidiol (CBD), and displayed favorable dose reduction indices and limited cytotoxicity against the non-cancerous breast cell line, MCF-10A. C6 exerted its effects in the MCF-7 cell line by inducing cell cycle arrest in the G2 phase, followed by the induction of apoptosis. Morphological observations indicated the induction of cytoplasmic vacuolation, with further investigation suggesting that the vacuole membrane was derived from the endoplasmic reticulum. In addition, lipid accumulation, increased lysosome size, and significant increases in the endoplasmic reticulum chaperone protein glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78) expression were also observed. The selectivity and ability of cannabinoids to halt cancer cell proliferation via pathways resembling apoptosis, autophagy, and paraptosis shows promise for cannabinoid use in standardized breast cancer treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Article
Expanding the Scope of Orthogonal Translation with Pyrrolysyl-tRNA Synthetases Dedicated to Aromatic Amino Acids
Molecules 2020, 25(19), 4418; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25194418 - 25 Sep 2020
Viewed by 1282
Abstract
In protein engineering and synthetic biology, Methanosarcina mazei pyrrolysyl-tRNA synthetase (MmPylRS), with its cognate tRNAPyl, is one of the most popular tools for site-specific incorporation of non-canonical amino acids (ncAAs). Numerous orthogonal pairs based on engineered MmPylRS variants [...] Read more.
In protein engineering and synthetic biology, Methanosarcina mazei pyrrolysyl-tRNA synthetase (MmPylRS), with its cognate tRNAPyl, is one of the most popular tools for site-specific incorporation of non-canonical amino acids (ncAAs). Numerous orthogonal pairs based on engineered MmPylRS variants have been developed during the last decade, enabling a substantial genetic code expansion, mainly with aliphatic pyrrolysine analogs. However, comparatively less progress has been made to expand the substrate range of MmPylRS towards aromatic amino acid residues. Therefore, we set to further expand the substrate scope of orthogonal translation by a semi-rational approach; redesigning the MmPylRS efficiency. Based on the randomization of residues from the binding pocket and tRNA binding domain, we identify three positions (V401, W417 and S193) crucial for ncAA specificity and enzyme activity. Their systematic mutagenesis enabled us to generate MmPylRS variants dedicated to tryptophan (such as β-(1-Azulenyl)-l-alanine or 1-methyl-l-tryptophan) and tyrosine (mainly halogenated) analogs. Moreover, our strategy also significantly improves the orthogonal translation efficiency with the previously activated analog 3-benzothienyl-l-alanine. Our study revealed the engineering of both first shell and distant residues to modify substrate specificity as an important strategy to further expand our ability to discover and recruit new ncAAs for orthogonal translation Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Article
Novel Harmicines with Improved Potency against Plasmodium
Molecules 2020, 25(19), 4376; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25194376 - 23 Sep 2020
Viewed by 793
Abstract
Harmicines represent hybrid compounds composed of β-carboline alkaloid harmine and cinnamic acid derivatives (CADs). In this paper we report the synthesis of amide-type harmicines and the evaluation of their biological activity. N-harmicines 5af and O-harmicines 6ah were [...] Read more.
Harmicines represent hybrid compounds composed of β-carboline alkaloid harmine and cinnamic acid derivatives (CADs). In this paper we report the synthesis of amide-type harmicines and the evaluation of their biological activity. N-harmicines 5af and O-harmicines 6ah were prepared by a straightforward synthetic procedure, from harmine-based amines and CADs using standard coupling conditions, 1-[bis(dimethylamino)methylene]-1H-1,2,3-triazolo [4,5-b]pyridinium 3-oxid hexafluorophosphate (HATU) and N,N-diisopropylethylamine (DIEA). Amide-type harmicines exerted remarkable activity against the erythrocytic stage of P. falciparum, in low submicromolar concentrations, which was significantly more pronounced compared to their antiplasmodial activity against the hepatic stages of P. berghei. Furthermore, a cytotoxicity assay against the human liver hepatocellular carcinoma cell line (HepG2) revealed favorable selectivity indices of the most active harmicines. Molecular dynamics simulations demonstrated the binding of ligands within the ATP binding site of PfHsp90, while the calculated binding free energies confirmed higher activity of N-harmicines 5 over their O-substituted analogues 6. Amino acids predominantly affecting the binding were identified, which provided guidelines for the further derivatization of the harmine framework towards more efficient agents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Article
The Microbiota-Derived Metabolite of Quercetin, 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic Acid Prevents Malignant Transformation and Mitochondrial Dysfunction Induced by Hemin in Colon Cancer and Normal Colon Epithelia Cell Lines
Molecules 2020, 25(18), 4138; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25184138 - 10 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 704
Abstract
Meat diet plays a pivotal role in colorectal cancer (CRC). Hemin, a metabolite of myoglobin, produced after meat intake, has been involved in CRC initiation. The compound, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (3,4HPAA) is a scarcely studied microbiota-derived metabolite of the flavonoid quercetin (QUE), which exert [...] Read more.
Meat diet plays a pivotal role in colorectal cancer (CRC). Hemin, a metabolite of myoglobin, produced after meat intake, has been involved in CRC initiation. The compound, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (3,4HPAA) is a scarcely studied microbiota-derived metabolite of the flavonoid quercetin (QUE), which exert antioxidant properties. The aim of this study was to determine the protective effect of 3,4HPAA against malignant transformation (increased cell proliferation, decreased apoptosis, DNA oxidative damage and augmented reactive oxidative species (ROS) levels) and mitochondrial dysfunction induced by hemin in normal colon epithelial cells and colon cancer cells. The effect of 3,4HPAA was assessed in comparison to its precursor, QUE and to a known CRC protective agent, sulforaphane (SFN). The results showed that both, tumor and normal cells, exposed to hemin, presented increased cell proliferation, decreased caspase 3 activity and cytochrome c release, as well as augmented production of intracellular and mitochondrial ROS. In addition, hemin decreased the mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) and the activity of complexes I and II of the electron transport chain. These effects of hemin were prevented by the action of 3,4HPAA. The metabolite showed to be more active than QUE and slightly less active than SFN. In conclusion, 3,4HPAA administration could represent a promising strategy for preventing malignant transformation and mitochondrial dysfunction in colon epithelia induced by hemin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Communication
In Vitro Studies on Antioxidant and Anti-Parasitic Activities of Compounds Isolated from Rauvolfia caffra Sond
Molecules 2020, 25(17), 3781; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25173781 - 20 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 835
Abstract
As part of an ongoing study of natural products from local medicinal plants, the methanol extract of stem bark of Rauvolfia caffra Sond was investigated for biological activity. Column chromatography and preparative thin-layer chromatography were used to isolate lupeol (1), raucaffricine [...] Read more.
As part of an ongoing study of natural products from local medicinal plants, the methanol extract of stem bark of Rauvolfia caffra Sond was investigated for biological activity. Column chromatography and preparative thin-layer chromatography were used to isolate lupeol (1), raucaffricine (2), N-methylsarpagine (3), and spegatrine (4). The crude extract, fractions and isolated compounds were tested for anti-oxidant, antitrypanosomal and anti-proliferation activities. Two fractions displayed high DPPH (2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl) free radical scavenging activity and reducing power with IC50 (The half maximal inhibitory concentration) and IC0.5 values of 0.022 ± 0.003 mg/mL and 0.036 ± 0.007 mg/mL, and 0.518 ± 0.044 mg/mL and 1.076 ± 0.136 mg/mL, respectively. Spegatrine (4) was identified as the main antioxidant compound in R. caffra with IC50 and IC0.5 values of 0.119 ± 0.067 mg/mL and 0.712 ± 0 mg/mL, respectively. One fraction displayed high antitrypanosomal activity with an IC50 value of 18.50 μg/mL. However, the major constituent of this fraction, raucaffricine (2), was not active. The crude extract, fractions and pure compounds did not display any cytotoxic effect at a concentration of 50 μg/mL against HeLa cells. This study shows directions for further in vitro studies on the antioxidant and antitrypanosomal activities of Rauvolfia caffra Sond. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Article
Unravelling the Antibacterial Activity of Terminalia sericea Root Bark through a Metabolomic Approach
Molecules 2020, 25(16), 3683; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25163683 - 13 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 819
Abstract
Terminalia sericea Burch. ex. DC. (Combretaceae) is a popular remedy for the treatment of infectious diseases. It is widely prescribed by traditional healers and sold at informal markets and may be a good candidate for commercialisation. For this to be realised, a thorough [...] Read more.
Terminalia sericea Burch. ex. DC. (Combretaceae) is a popular remedy for the treatment of infectious diseases. It is widely prescribed by traditional healers and sold at informal markets and may be a good candidate for commercialisation. For this to be realised, a thorough phytochemical and bioactivity profile is required to identify constituents that may be associated with the antibacterial activity and hence the quality of raw materials and consumer products. The aim of this study was to explore the phytochemistry and identify the antibacterial constituents of T. sericea root bark, using a metabolomic approach. The chemical profiles and antibacterial activities of 42 root bark samples collected from three districts in the Limpopo Province, South Africa, were evaluated. Dichloromethane:methanol (1:1) extracts were analysed using ultraperformance liquid chromatography (UPLC)-mass spectrometry (MS), and chemometric models were constructed from the aligned data. The extracts were tested against Bacillus cereus (ATCC 11778), Staphylococcus epidermidis (ATCC 12223), Staphylococcus aureus (ATCC 25923), Escherichia coli (ATCC 8739), Klebsiella pneumoniae (ATCC 13883), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (ATCC 27853), Shigella sonnei (ATCC 9292) and Salmonella typhimurium (ATCC 14028), using the minimum inhibition microdilution assay. Nine compounds; sericic acid, sericoside, resveratrol-3-O-β-rutinoside, ellagic acid, flavogallonic acid dilactone, methyl-flavogallonate, quercetin-3-(2′′-galloylrhamnoside), resveratrol-3-(6′′-galloyl)-O-β-d-glucopyranoside and arjunetin, were isolated from the root bark. All the compounds, with the exception of sericic acid, sericoside and resveratrol-3-O-β-rutinoside, were isolated for the first time from the root bark of T. sericea. Chemometric analysis revealed clustering that was not population specific, and the presence of three groupings within the samples, characterised by sericic acid, sericoside and an unidentified compound (m/z 682/4.66 min), respectively. The crude extracts from different populations displayed varied antibacterial activities against S. typhimurium (minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) 0.25–1.0 mg/mL), but similar activity towards Bacillus cereus (1.0 mg/mL). Several compounds present in the root bark were highly active towards all or most of the pathogens tested, but this activity was not reflected by the chemical profiles of extracts prepared from the individual samples. Among the pure compounds tested, only flavogallonic acid dilactone and methyl-flavogallonate exhibited broad-spectrum activity. A biochemometric analysis indicated that there was no consistent association between the levels of phytochemicals and the activity of the active or non-active extracts. Although it was deduced that the major constituents of T. sericea root bark contributed to the chemotypic variation, further investigation of the interactions of compounds present in the root bark may provide antibacterial efficacies not evident when examining compounds singularly. The data reported herein will provide information that is fundamentally important for the development of quality control protocols. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Article
Veronica austriaca L. Extract and Arbutin Expand Mature Double TNF-α/IFN-γ Neutrophils in Murine Bone Marrow Pool
Molecules 2020, 25(15), 3410; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25153410 - 28 Jul 2020
Viewed by 681
Abstract
Plants from the Veronica genus are used across the world as traditional remedies. In the present study, extracts from the aerial part of the scarcely investigated Veronica austriaca L., collected from two habitats in Bulgaria—the Balkan Mountains (Vau-1) and the Rhodopi Mountains (Vau-2), [...] Read more.
Plants from the Veronica genus are used across the world as traditional remedies. In the present study, extracts from the aerial part of the scarcely investigated Veronica austriaca L., collected from two habitats in Bulgaria—the Balkan Mountains (Vau-1) and the Rhodopi Mountains (Vau-2), were analyzed by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The secondary metabolite, arbutin, was identified as a major constituent in both extracts, and further quantified by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), while catalpol, aucubin and verbascoside were detected at lower amounts. The effect of the extracts and of pure arbutin on the survival of neutrophils isolated from murine bone marrow (BM) were determined by colorimetric assay. The production of cytokines—tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interferon (IFN)-γ was evaluated by flowcytometry. While Vau-1 inhibited neutrophil vitality in a dose-dependent manner, arbutin stimulated the survival of neutrophils at lower concentrations, and inhibited cell density at higher concentrations. The Vau-1 increased the level of intracellular TNF-α, while Vau-2 and arbutin failed to do so, and expanded the frequency of mature double TNF-α+/IFN-γhi neutrophils within the BM pool. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Review
Biosynthesis of Nature-Inspired Unnatural Cannabinoids
Molecules 2021, 26(10), 2914; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26102914 - 14 May 2021
Viewed by 546
Abstract
Natural products make up a large proportion of medicine available today. Cannabinoids from the plant Cannabis sativa is one unique class of meroterpenoids that have shown a wide range of bioactivities and recently seen significant developments in their status as therapeutic agents for [...] Read more.
Natural products make up a large proportion of medicine available today. Cannabinoids from the plant Cannabis sativa is one unique class of meroterpenoids that have shown a wide range of bioactivities and recently seen significant developments in their status as therapeutic agents for various indications. Their complex chemical structures make it difficult to chemically synthesize them in efficient yields. Synthetic biology has presented a solution to this through metabolic engineering in heterologous hosts. Through genetic manipulation, rare phytocannabinoids that are produced in low yields in the plant can now be synthesized in larger quantities for therapeutic and commercial use. Additionally, an exciting avenue of exploring new chemical spaces is made available as novel derivatized compounds can be produced and investigated for their bioactivities. In this review, we summarized the biosynthetic pathways of phytocannabinoids and synthetic biology efforts in producing them in heterologous hosts. Detailed mechanistic insights are discussed in each part of the pathway in order to explore strategies for creating novel cannabinoids. Lastly, we discussed studies conducted on biological targets such as CB1, CB2 and orphan receptors along with their affinities to these cannabinoid ligands with a view to inform upstream diversification efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Review
Phytochemicals Targeting JAK–STAT Pathways in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Insights from Animal Models
Molecules 2021, 26(9), 2824; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26092824 - 10 May 2021
Viewed by 462
Abstract
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the gastrointestinal tract that consists of Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). Cytokines are thought to be key mediators of inflammation-mediated pathological processes of IBD. These cytokines play a crucial role through [...] Read more.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the gastrointestinal tract that consists of Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). Cytokines are thought to be key mediators of inflammation-mediated pathological processes of IBD. These cytokines play a crucial role through the Janus kinase (JAK) and signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) signaling pathways. Several small molecules inhibiting JAK have been used in clinical trials, and one of them has been approved for IBD treatment. Many anti-inflammatory phytochemicals have been shown to have potential as new drugs for IBD treatment. This review describes the significance of the JAK–STAT pathway as a current therapeutic target for IBD and discusses the recent findings that phytochemicals can ameliorate disease symptoms by affecting the JAK–STAT pathway in vivo in IBD disease models. Thus, we suggest that phytochemicals modulating JAK–STAT pathways are potential candidates for developing new therapeutic drugs, alternative medicines, and nutraceutical agents for the treatment of IBD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Review
Pulse Probiotic Superfood as Iron Status Improvement Agent in Active Women—A Review
Molecules 2021, 26(8), 2121; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26082121 - 07 Apr 2021
Viewed by 483
Abstract
Active women or women of reproductive age (15–49 years old) have a high risk of suffering from anaemia. Anaemia is not solely caused by iron deficiency, however, the approaches to improve iron status in both cases are greatly related. Improving the iron status [...] Read more.
Active women or women of reproductive age (15–49 years old) have a high risk of suffering from anaemia. Anaemia is not solely caused by iron deficiency, however, the approaches to improve iron status in both cases are greatly related. Improving the iron status of active women can be done by dietary intervention with functional food. This review aims to provide insights about the functional food role to increase iron absorption in active women and the potency of pulse probiotic superfood development in dry matrices. Results showed that the beneficial effect of iron status is significantly improved by the synergic work between probiotic and prebiotic. Furthermore, chickpeas and lentils are good sources of prebiotic and the consumption of pulses are related with 21st century people’s intention to eat healthy food. There are wide possibilities to develop functional food products incorporated with probiotics to improve iron status in active woman. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Review
Na+/K+-ATPase Revisited: On Its Mechanism of Action, Role in Cancer, and Activity Modulation
Molecules 2021, 26(7), 1905; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26071905 - 28 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 693
Abstract
Maintenance of Na+ and K+ gradients across the cell plasma membrane is an essential process for mammalian cell survival. An enzyme responsible for this process, sodium-potassium ATPase (NKA), has been currently extensively studied as a potential anticancer target, especially in lung [...] Read more.
Maintenance of Na+ and K+ gradients across the cell plasma membrane is an essential process for mammalian cell survival. An enzyme responsible for this process, sodium-potassium ATPase (NKA), has been currently extensively studied as a potential anticancer target, especially in lung cancer and glioblastoma. To date, many NKA inhibitors, mainly of natural origin from the family of cardiac steroids (CSs), have been reported and extensively studied. Interestingly, upon CS binding to NKA at nontoxic doses, the role of NKA as a receptor is activated and intracellular signaling is triggered, upon which cancer cell death occurs, which lies in the expression of different NKA isoforms than in healthy cells. Two major CSs, digoxin and digitoxin, originally used for the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias, are also being tested for another indication—cancer. Such drug repositioning has a big advantage in smoother approval processes. Besides this, novel CS derivatives with improved performance are being developed and evaluated in combination therapy. This article deals with the NKA structure, mechanism of action, activity modulation, and its most important inhibitors, some of which could serve not only as a powerful tool to combat cancer, but also help to decipher the so-far poorly understood NKA regulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Review
Postbiotics, Metabolic Signaling, and Cancer
Molecules 2021, 26(6), 1528; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26061528 - 11 Mar 2021
Viewed by 539
Abstract
Postbiotics are health-promoting microbial metabolites delivered as a functional food or a food supplement. They either directly influence signaling pathways of the body or indirectly manipulate metabolism and the composition of intestinal microflora. Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide and [...] Read more.
Postbiotics are health-promoting microbial metabolites delivered as a functional food or a food supplement. They either directly influence signaling pathways of the body or indirectly manipulate metabolism and the composition of intestinal microflora. Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide and even though the prognosis of patients is improving, it is still poor in the substantial part of the cases. The preventable nature of cancer and the importance of a complex multi-level approach in anticancer therapy motivate the search for novel avenues of establishing the anticancer environment in the human body. This review summarizes the principal findings demonstrating the usefulness of both natural and synthetic sources of postbotics in the prevention and therapy of cancer. Specifically, the effects of crude cell-free supernatants, the short-chain fatty acid butyrate, lactic acid, hydrogen sulfide, and β-glucans are described. Contradictory roles of postbiotics in healthy and tumor tissues are highlighted. In conclusion, the application of postbiotics is an efficient complementary strategy to combat cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Review
A Review of Bacteriochlorophyllides: Chemical Structures and Applications
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1293; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051293 - 27 Feb 2021
Viewed by 521
Abstract
Generally, bacteriochlorophyllides were responsible for the photosynthesis in bacteria. Seven types of bacteriochlorophyllides have been disclosed. Bacteriochlorophyllides a/b/g could be synthesized from divinyl chlorophyllide a. The other bacteriochlorophyllides c/d/e/f could be synthesized [...] Read more.
Generally, bacteriochlorophyllides were responsible for the photosynthesis in bacteria. Seven types of bacteriochlorophyllides have been disclosed. Bacteriochlorophyllides a/b/g could be synthesized from divinyl chlorophyllide a. The other bacteriochlorophyllides c/d/e/f could be synthesized from chlorophyllide a. The chemical structure and synthetic route of bacteriochlorophyllides were summarized in this review. Furthermore, the potential applications of bacteriochlorophyllides in photosensitizers, immunosensors, influence on bacteriochlorophyll aggregation, dye-sensitized solar cell, heme synthesis and for light energy harvesting simulation were discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Review
Potential Treatment of Breast and Lung Cancer Using Dicoma anomala, an African Medicinal Plant
Molecules 2020, 25(19), 4435; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25194435 - 27 Sep 2020
Viewed by 843
Abstract
Globally, cancer has been identified as one of the leading causes of death in public health. Its etiology is based on consistent exposure to carcinogenic. Plant-derived anticancer compounds are known to be less toxic to the normal cells and are classified into acetylenic [...] Read more.
Globally, cancer has been identified as one of the leading causes of death in public health. Its etiology is based on consistent exposure to carcinogenic. Plant-derived anticancer compounds are known to be less toxic to the normal cells and are classified into acetylenic compounds, phenolics, terpenes, and phytosterols. Dicoma anomala is a perennial herb belonging to the family Asteraceae and is widely distributed in Sub-Saharan Africa and used in the treatment of cancer, malaria, fever, diabetes, ulcers, cold, and cough. This review aimed at highlighting the benefits of D. anomala in various therapeutic applications with special reference to the treatment of cancers and the mechanisms through which the plant-derived agents induce cell death. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Review
Flavonoids and Related Members of the Aromatic Polyketide Group in Human Health and Disease: Do They Really Work?
Molecules 2020, 25(17), 3846; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25173846 - 24 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 819
Abstract
Some aromatic polyketides such as dietary flavonoids have gained reputation as miraculous molecules with preeminent beneficial effects on human health, for example, as antioxidants. However, there is little conclusive evidence that dietary flavonoids provide significant leads for developing more effective drugs, as the [...] Read more.
Some aromatic polyketides such as dietary flavonoids have gained reputation as miraculous molecules with preeminent beneficial effects on human health, for example, as antioxidants. However, there is little conclusive evidence that dietary flavonoids provide significant leads for developing more effective drugs, as the majority appears to be of negligible medicinal importance. Some aromatic polyketides of limited distribution have shown more interesting medicinal properties and additional research should be focused on them. Combretastatins, analogues of phenoxodiol, hepatoactive kavalactones, and silymarin are showing a considerable promise in the advanced phases of clinical trials for the treatment of various pathologies. If their limitations such as adverse side effects, poor water solubility, and oral inactivity are successfully eliminated, they might be prime candidates for the development of more effective and in some case safer drugs. This review highlights some of the newer compounds, where they are in the new drug pipeline and how researchers are searching for additional likely candidates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Review
Contiguous Quaternary Carbons: A Selection of Total Syntheses
Molecules 2020, 25(17), 3841; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25173841 - 24 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1031
Abstract
Contiguous quaternary carbons in terpene natural products remain a major challenge in total synthesis. Synthetic strategies to overcome this challenge will be a pivotal prerequisite to the medicinal application of natural products and their analogs or derivatives. In this review, we cover syntheses [...] Read more.
Contiguous quaternary carbons in terpene natural products remain a major challenge in total synthesis. Synthetic strategies to overcome this challenge will be a pivotal prerequisite to the medicinal application of natural products and their analogs or derivatives. In this review, we cover syntheses of natural products that exhibit a dense assembly of quaternary carbons and whose syntheses were uncompleted until recently. While discussing their syntheses, we not only cover the most recent total syntheses but also provide an update on the status quo of modern syntheses of complex natural products. Herein, we review (±)-canataxpropellane, (+)-waihoensene, (–)-illisimonin A and (±)-11-O-debenzoyltashironin as prominent examples of natural products bearing contiguous quaternary carbons. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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