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Special Issue "Design of Natural Products Lead Molecules Using Organic Synthesis"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2020) | Viewed by 9357

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Patrícia Rijo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CBIOS Lusófona's Research Center for Biosciences and Health Technologies, Campo Grande 376, 1749-024 Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: natural product chemistry; phytochemistry; medicinal natural products; antimicrobial; plectranthus
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Vera Isca
E-Mail
Assistant Guest Editor
iMed.ULisboa, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lisbon, Av. Prof. Gama Pinto, 1649-003 Lisbo, Portugal and CBIOS Lusófona's Research Center for Biosciences and Health Technologies, Campo Grande 376, 1749-024 Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: Natural products chemistry; bioactive natural products; phytochemistry; organic synthesis
Prof. Dr. Daniele Passarella
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

From traditional medicine to modern-day therapies, natural sources are of great importance, promoting chemical diversity and quality in human health. Natural products have encouraged and inspired chemists in their scientific research. Nature offers a unique chemical diversity, which leads to diversity in mechanisms of biological action and drug-like properties. Thus, natural compounds play a leading role in drug development. Natural products provide countless active compounds. Nevertheless, there still great potential for future discoveries for novel chemical structures and their new types of action from natural sources. Additionally, there has been a great interest in new drug development through the derivatization of natural metabolites. Computer-aided design and in silico approaches have also been considered promising tools in drug discovery of new derivatives from natural products.

This Special Issue aims to collect original papers and/or review papers that contribute to the area of natural product chemistry research. We cordially invite researchers to contribute to the study of the chemistry of naturally occurring compounds, specifically, the isolation, structure elucidation, chemical synthesis of novel compounds and in silico studies. Further, evaluation of the biological activities of novel compounds, their structure–activity relationship, and molecular mechanisms of action are welcomed. Emphasis on new works in related fields will be appreciated.

Dr. Patrícia Rijo
Dr. Vera Isca
Prof. Dr. Daniele Passarella
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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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 2300 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 chemistry
  • Natural products biological activity
  • Extraction, isolation, and strutural characterization
  • Bioactive derivatives
  • Natural products synthesis and semisynthesis
  • Natural products molecular docking

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Neuroprotective Activities of Boophone haemanthoides (Amaryllidaceae) Extract and Its Chemical Constituents
Molecules 2020, 25(22), 5376; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25225376 - 17 Nov 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 945
Abstract
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative condition that progresses as age increases, and some of its major symptoms include tremor and postural and movement-related difficulties. To date, the treatment of PD remains a challenge because available drugs only treat the symptoms of the [...] Read more.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative condition that progresses as age increases, and some of its major symptoms include tremor and postural and movement-related difficulties. To date, the treatment of PD remains a challenge because available drugs only treat the symptoms of the disease or possess serious side effects. In light of this, new treatment options are needed; hence, this study investigates the neuroprotective effects of an organic Boophone haemanthoides extract (BHE) and its bioactive compounds using an in vitro model of PD involving the toxin 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+) and SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells. A total of seven compounds were isolated from BHE, viz distichamine (1), 1α,3α-diacetylnerbowdine (2), hippadine (3), stigmast-4-ene-3,6-dione (4), cholest-4-en-3-one (5), tyrosol (6), and 3-hydroxy-1-(4′-hydroxyphenyl)-1-propanone (7). Six compounds (1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7) were investigated, and five showed neuroprotection alongside the BHE. This study gives insight into the bioactivity of the non-alkaloidal constituents of Amaryllidaceae, since the isolated compounds and the BHE showed improved cell viability, increased ATP generation in the cells as well as inhibition of MPP+-induced apoptosis. Together, these findings support the claim that the Amaryllidaceae plant family could be a potential reserve of bioactive compounds for the discovery of neuroprotective agents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design of Natural Products Lead Molecules Using Organic Synthesis)
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Communication
In Vitro Antimicrobial Activity of Isopimarane-Type Diterpenoids
Molecules 2020, 25(18), 4250; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25184250 - 16 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 978
Abstract
The antimicrobial evaluation of twelve natural and hemisynthetic isopimarane diterpenes are reported. The compounds were evaluated against a panel of Gram-positive bacteria, including two methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains and one vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) strain. Only natural compounds 7,15-isopimaradien-19-ol (1) and [...] Read more.
The antimicrobial evaluation of twelve natural and hemisynthetic isopimarane diterpenes are reported. The compounds were evaluated against a panel of Gram-positive bacteria, including two methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains and one vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) strain. Only natural compounds 7,15-isopimaradien-19-ol (1) and 19-acetoxy-7,15-isopimaradien-3β-ol (6) showed promising results. Isopimarane (1) was the most active, showing MIC values between 6.76 µM against S. aureus (ATCC 43866) and 216.62 µM against E. faecalis (FFHB 427483) and E. flavescens (ATCC 49996). Compound (6) showed moderated activity against all tested microorganisms (MIC between value 22.54 and 45.07 µM). These compounds were found to be active against the methicillin-sensitive strains of S. aureus (CIP 106760 and FFHB 29593), showing MIC values of 13.55 (1) and 22.54 (6) µM. Both compounds were also active against vancomycin-resistant E. faecalis (ATCC 51299) (MIC values of 54.14 and 45.07 µM, respectively). In addition, the cytotoxicity of nine compounds 7,15-isopimaradien-3β,19-diol (2); mixture: 15-isopimarene-8β-isobutyryloxy-19-ol and 15-isopimarene-8β-butyryloxy-19-ol (3); 3β-acetoxy-7,15-isopimaradiene-19-ol (5); 19-acetoxy-7,15-isopimaradiene-3β-ol (6); 3β,19-diacetoxy-7,15-isopimaradiene (8); 15-isopimarene-8β,19-diol (9); 19-O-β-d-glucopyranoside-7,15-isopimaradiene (10); lagascatriol-16-O-β-d-glucopyranoside (11) and lagascatriol-16-O-α-d-mannopyranoside (12) was evaluated in the human breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231. Isopimarane (2) was the only compound showing some cytotoxicity. The IC50 value of compound (2) was 15 µM, suggesting a mild antiproliferative activity against these breast cancer cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design of Natural Products Lead Molecules Using Organic Synthesis)
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Article
Glucose-Uptake Activity and Cytotoxicity of Diterpenes and Triterpenes Isolated from Lamiaceae Plant Species
Molecules 2020, 25(18), 4129; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25184129 - 10 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1001
Abstract
The prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM), considered one of the most common metabolic disorders, has dramatically increased and resulted in higher rates of morbidity and mortality around the world in the past decade. It is well known that insulin resistance in target tissues [...] Read more.
The prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM), considered one of the most common metabolic disorders, has dramatically increased and resulted in higher rates of morbidity and mortality around the world in the past decade. It is well known that insulin resistance in target tissues and a deficiency in insulin secretion from pancreatic β-cells are the main characteristics of type 2 diabetes. The aim of this study was the bio-evaluation of compounds isolated from three selected plant species: namely, Salvia africana-lutea, Leonotis ocymifolia, and Plectranthus madagascariensis, for their glucose-uptake ability. Methanolic extracts were produced from the aerial parts of each plant. Compounds were identified using different spectroscopic techniques. The glucose-uptake ability of each compound was then evaluated in mammalian cells using 2-deoxyglucose-6-phosphate. The cytotoxicity of each compound was established via the MTT assay. Chromatographic purification of the three plant species yielded sixteen pure terpenoids. Compounds 1 (p = 0.0031), 8 (p = 0.0053), and 6 (p = 0.0086) showed a marked increase in glucose uptake, respectively. Additionally, 1, 4, and 6 exhibited cytotoxicity toward mammalian tissue with a decrease in cell viability of ~70%, ~68%, and ~67%, respectively. The results suggested that several compounds demonstrated a marked increase in glucose uptake, while two of the compounds exhibited signs of cytotoxicity. It may, therefore, be suggested that these compounds be considered as potential candidates for novel plant-derived alternative therapies in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design of Natural Products Lead Molecules Using Organic Synthesis)
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Article
Advances on Antiviral Activity of Morus spp. Plant Extracts: Human Coronavirus and Virus-Related Respiratory Tract Infections in the Spotlight
Molecules 2020, 25(8), 1876; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25081876 - 18 Apr 2020
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 3121
Abstract
(1) Background: Viral respiratory infections cause life-threatening diseases in millions of people worldwide every year. Human coronavirus and several picornaviruses are responsible for worldwide epidemic outbreaks, thus representing a heavy burden to their hosts. In the absence of specific treatments for human viral [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Viral respiratory infections cause life-threatening diseases in millions of people worldwide every year. Human coronavirus and several picornaviruses are responsible for worldwide epidemic outbreaks, thus representing a heavy burden to their hosts. In the absence of specific treatments for human viral infections, natural products offer an alternative in terms of innovative drug therapies. (2) Methods: We analyzed the antiviral properties of the leaves and stem bark of the mulberry tree (Morus spp.). We compared the antiviral activity of Morus spp. on enveloped and nonenveloped viral pathogens, such as human coronavirus (HCoV 229E) and different members of the Picornaviridae family—human poliovirus 1, human parechovirus 1 and 3, and human echovirus 11. The antiviral activity of 12 water and water–alcohol plant extracts of the leaves and stem bark of three different species of mulberry—Morus alba var. alba, Morus alba var. rosa, and Morus rubra—were evaluated. We also evaluated the antiviral activities of kuwanon G against HCoV-229E. (3) Results: Our results showed that several extracts reduced the viral titer and cytopathogenic effects (CPE). Leaves’ water-alcohol extracts exhibited maximum antiviral activity on human coronavirus, while stem bark and leaves’ water and water-alcohol extracts were the most effective on picornaviruses. (4) Conclusions: The analysis of the antiviral activities of Morus spp. offer promising applications in antiviral strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design of Natural Products Lead Molecules Using Organic Synthesis)
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Communication
Comparative Study of the Effect of 5,6-Dihydroergosterol and 3-epi-5,6-dihydroergosterol on Chemokine Expression in Human Keratinocytes
Molecules 2020, 25(3), 522; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25030522 - 25 Jan 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 858
Abstract
5,6-Dihydroergosterol-glucose is an organic synthetic derivative of spinasterol-glucose, which has potent anti-inflammatory activity. We previously synthesized alpha and beta anomers of DHE-glycosides and compared their inhibitory activity on CCL17 and CCL22 mRNA expression induced by TNF-α/IFN-γ in activated HaCaTs. Recently, we synthesized a [...] Read more.
5,6-Dihydroergosterol-glucose is an organic synthetic derivative of spinasterol-glucose, which has potent anti-inflammatory activity. We previously synthesized alpha and beta anomers of DHE-glycosides and compared their inhibitory activity on CCL17 and CCL22 mRNA expression induced by TNF-α/IFN-γ in activated HaCaTs. Recently, we synthesized a new type of DHE-glycosides, 3-epi-5,6-dihydroergosterol(3-epi-DHE)-glycosides, and compared its inhibitory activity on mRNA expression levels of CCL17 and CCL22 in TNF-α/IFN-γ-induced HaCaT. DHE-Xly did not affect TNF-α/IFN-γ induced CCL17 and CCL22 mRNA expression in HaCaTs, however, 3-epi-DHE-Xly strongly inhibited TNF-α/IFN-γ induced CCL17 and CCL22 mRNA expression levels in human keratinocytes. These results provide important clues for development of chronic dermatitis treatment via inhibition of chemokine expression using DHE derivatives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design of Natural Products Lead Molecules Using Organic Synthesis)
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Review

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Review
Natural Compound-Derived Cytochrome bc1 Complex Inhibitors as Antifungal Agents
Molecules 2020, 25(19), 4582; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25194582 - 07 Oct 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1853
Abstract
The high incidence of fungal pathogens has become a global issue for crop protection. A promising strategy to control fungal plant infections is based on the use of nature-inspired compounds. The cytochrome bc1 complex is an essential component of the cellular respiratory chain [...] Read more.
The high incidence of fungal pathogens has become a global issue for crop protection. A promising strategy to control fungal plant infections is based on the use of nature-inspired compounds. The cytochrome bc1 complex is an essential component of the cellular respiratory chain and is one of the most important fungicidal targets. Natural products have played a crucial role in the discovery of cytochrome bc1 inhibitors, as proven by the development of strobilurins, one of the most important classes of crop-protection agents, over the past two decades. In this review, we summarize advances in the exploration of natural product scaffolds for the design and development of new bc1 complex inhibitors. Particular emphasis is given to molecular modeling-based approaches and structure–activity relationship (SAR) studies performed to improve the stability and increase the potency of natural precursors. The collected results highlight the versatility of natural compounds and provide an insight into the potential development of nature-inspired derivatives as antifungal agents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design of Natural Products Lead Molecules Using Organic Synthesis)
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