Proteins of the Bcl-2 family are key targets in anticancer drug discovery. Disrupting the interaction between anti- and pro-apoptotic members of this protein family was the approach chosen in this study to restore apoptosis. Thus, a biological screening on the modulation of the Bcl-xL/Bak and Mcl-1/Bid interactions permitted the selection of Knema hookeriana for further phytochemical investigations. The ethyl acetate extract from the stem bark led to the isolation of six new compounds, three acetophenone derivatives (1-3) and three anacardic acid derivatives (4-6), along with four known anacardic acids (7-10) and two cardanols (11, 12). Their structures were elucidated by 1D and 2D NMR analysis in combination with HRMS experiments. The ability of these compounds to antagonize Bcl-xL/Bak and Mcl-1/Bid association was determined, using a protein-protein interaction assay, but only anacardic acid derivatives (4-10) exhibited significant binding properties, with Ki values ranging from 0.2 to 18 μM. Protein-ligand NMR experiments further revealed that anacardic acid 9, the most active compound, does not interact with the anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-xL and Mcl-1 but instead interacts with pro-apoptotic protein Bid.
The role of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has been vastly studied over the last decade. This has led to the rapid development of many generations of EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs). However, patients treated with third-generation TKIs (osimertinib, avitinib and rociletinib) targeting the EGFR T790M mutation have shown emerging resistances and relapses. Therefore, further molecular understanding of NSCLC mutations, bypass signalling, tumour microenvironment and the existence of cancer stem cells to overcome such resistances is warranted. This will pave the way for designing novel and effective chemotherapies to improve patients' overall survival. In this review, we provide an overview of the multifaceted mechanisms of resistance towards EGFR-TKIs, as well as the challenges and perspectives that should be addressed in strategising chemotherapeutic treatments to overcome the ever-evolving and adaptive nature of NSCLC.
A large-scale in vitro screening of tropical plants using an antibacterial assay permitted the selection of several species with significant antibacterial activities. Bioassay-guided purification of the dichloromethane extract of the leaves of the Malaysian species Vitex vestita, led to the isolation of six new labdane-type diterpenoids, namely, 12-epivitexolide A (2), vitexolides B and C (3 and 4), vitexolide E (8), and vitexolins A and B (5 and 6), along with six known compounds, vitexolides A (1) and D (7), acuminolide (9), 3β-hydroxyanticopalic acid (10), 8α-hydroxyanticopalic acid (11), and 6α-hydroxyanticopalic acid (12). Their structures were elucidated on the basis of 1D and 2D NMR analyses and HRMS experiments. Both variable-temperature NMR spectroscopic studies and chemical modifications were performed to investigate the dynamic epimerization of the γ-hydroxybutenolide moiety of compounds 1-4. Compounds were assayed against a panel of 46 Gram-positive strains. Vitexolide A (1) exhibited the most potent antibacterial activity with minimal inhibitory concentration values ranging from 6 to 96 μM, whereas compounds 2 and 6-9 showed moderate antibacterial activity. The presence of a β-hydroxyalkyl-γ-hydroxybutenolide subunit contributed significantly to antibacterial activity. Compounds 1-4 and 6-9 showed cytotoxic activities against the HCT-116 cancer cell line (1 < IC50s < 10 μM) and human fetal lung fibroblast MRC5 cell line (1 < IC50s < 10 μM for compounds 1, 2, 7, 8, and 9).
Leishmaniasis is a vector-borne disease caused by the protozoan parasite Leishmania found in tropical and sub-tropical areas, affecting 12 million people around the world. Only few treatments are available against this disease and all of them present issues of toxicity and/or resistance. In this context, the development of new antileishmanial drugs specifically directed against a therapeutic target appears to be a promising strategy. The GDP-Mannose Pyrophosphorylase (GDP-MP) has been previously shown to be an attractive therapeutic target in Leishmania. In this study, a chemical library of 5000 compounds was screened on both L. infantum (LiGDP-MP) and human (hGDP-MP) GDP-MPs. From this screening, oncostemonol D was found to be active on both GDP-MPs at the micromolar level. Ten alkyl-resorcinol derivatives, of which oncostemonols E and J (2 and 3) were described for the first time from nature, were then evaluated on both enzymes as well as on L. infantum axenic and intramacrophage amastigotes. From this evaluation, compounds 1 and 3 inhibited both GDP-MPs at the micromolar level, and compound 9 displayed a three-times lower IC50 on LiGDP-MP, at 11 µM, than on hGDP-MP. As they displayed mild activities on the parasite, these compounds need to be further pharmacomodulated in order to improve their affinity and specificity to the target as well as their antileishmanial activity.
A library of 26 novel carboxamides deriving from natural fislatifolic acid has been prepared. The synthetic strategy involved a bio-inspired Diels-Alder cycloaddition, followed by functionalisations of the carbonyl moiety. All the compounds were evaluated on Bcl-xL, Mcl-1 and Bcl-2 proteins. In this series of cyclohexenyl chalcone analogues, six compounds behaved as dual Bcl-xL/Mcl-1 inhibitors in micromolar range and one exhibited sub-micromolar affinities toward Mcl-1 and Bcl-2. The most potent compounds evaluated on A549 and MCF7 cancer cell lines showed moderate cytotoxicities.