Coran M H Watanabe

Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, United States

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Publications (16)65.54 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: At least 65% of all small molecule drugs on the market today are natural products, however, re-isolation of previously identified and characterized compounds has become a serious impediment to the discovery of new bioactive natural products. Here, genetic knockout of an unusual non-ribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) C-PCP-C module, aziA2, is performed resulting in the accumulation of the secondary metabolite, dimethyl furan-2,4-dicarboxylate. The cryptic metabolite represents the first non-azinomycin related compound to be isolated and characterized from the soil bacterium, S. sahachiroi. The results from this study suggest that abolishing production of otherwise predominant natural products through genetic knockout may constitute a means to "activate" the production of novel secondary metabolites that would otherwise lay dormant within microbial genome sequences.
    Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry 01/2013; 9:1768-73. · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A protein identified from the Streptomyces sahachiroi genome exhibits a protective effect against the DNA alkylator azinomycin B when heterologously expressed in S. lividans and E. coli. The protein, dubbed AziR for azinomycin resistance, is homologous to aminoglycoside phosphotransferases but behaves as an azinomycin binding protein and fails to chemically modify azinomycin. While AziR confers resistance to azinomycin B, it is inactive against aminoglycoside antibiotics and other DNA alkylators. A nucleic acid staining assay indicates that the protein enhances cell survival, and also prevents DNA damage effects normally observed following azinomycin treatment. Knowledge of an azinomycin resistance mechanism aids in setting the stage for future engineered biosynthesis of functionally useful azinomycin analogues.
    Molecular BioSystems 09/2011; 7(9):2563-70. · 3.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Only a handful of aziridine-containing natural products have been identified out of the more than 100,000 natural products characterized to date. Among this class of compounds, only the azinomycins (azinomycin A and B) and ficellomycin contain an unusual 1-azabicyclo[3.1.0]hexane ring system, which has been reported to be the reason for theDNAcrosslinking abilities and cytotoxicity of these metabolites. Both families of natural products are produced by Streptomyces species, Streptomyces sahachiroi and Streptomyces ficellus, respectively. Up until recently, much of the work on these molecules has focused on the synthesis of these natural products or their corresponding analogs for in vitro investigations evaluating their DNA selectivity. While one of the most intriguing aspects of these natural products is their biosynthesis, progress made in this area was largely impeded by difficulties with obtaining a reliable culture method and securing a consistent source of these natural products. In this review, we will cover the discovery and biological activity of the azinomycins, their mode of action, related synthetic analogs and biosynthesis, and finish with a discussion on the less studied metabolite, ficellomycin.
    Natural Product Reports 02/2011; 28(4):693-704. · 10.18 Impact Factor
  • Bennie J Bench, Jennifer Foulke-Abel, Coran M H Watanabe
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    ABSTRACT: Bovine milk is by far the most commonly consumed milk in the western world. The protein composition in milk consists of casein and whey proteins, of which β-lactoglobulin (BLG) is the principal constituent of the latter. Here we provide biochemical evidence that this milk protein, in purified form and in pasteurized store-bought milk, promotes the formation of cycloretinal (all-trans retinal dimer), and a variety of other cycloterpenals of biological relevance [Fishkin et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A., 2005, 102, 7091-7096; Fishkin et al., Chirality, 2004, 16, 637-641; Kim et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A., 2007, 104, 19273-19278]. Cycloretinal is an eye metabolite and among several toxic byproducts of the visual cycle firmly established to cause age-related macular degeneration. Experiments in rabbits further demonstrate that BLG/milk can survive the digestive system and promote this reaction in vivo [Caillard et al., Am. J. Physiol., 1994, 266(6), G1053-G1059]. Proteomic studies on age-related macular degeneration patients have detected BLG in the eye of these patients further suggesting that this milk protein could contribute to disease progression [Crabb et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A., 2002, 99(23), 14682-14687].
    Molecular BioSystems 11/2010; 7(1):162-8. · 3.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Experiments reveal that the metabolic precursor aminoacetone is a key intermediate in the production of the antitumor agent azinomycin A relative to the structurally and functionally related agent, azinomycin B. Azinomycin A and B arise through bifurcation of the biosynthetic pathway and competition between metabolic substrates. The availability of the biosynthetic precursors in vivo, aminoacetone for azinomycin A and threonine for azinomycin B, controls the overall ratio of azinomycin A to B produced.
    Organic Letters 09/2009; 11(17):4006-9. · 6.14 Impact Factor
  • Vasudha Sharma, Gilbert T Kelly, Coran M H Watanabe
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    ABSTRACT: Streptomyces sahachiroi whole cell feeding experiments, utilizing putative precursors labeled with stable isotopes, established that the epoxide unit of the DNA cross-linked agents, azinomycin A and B, proceeds via a valine-dependent pathway and that hydroxylation and dehydration precedes formation of the terminal epoxide. Sodium 3-methyl-2-oxobutenoate, formed through a transimination reaction, was shown to be the penultimate precursor incorporated into the azinomycin epoxide.
    Organic Letters 11/2008; 10(21):4815-8. · 6.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An unusual class of diterpenoid natural products, 'cycloterpenals' (with a central cyclohexadienal core), that arise in nature by condensation of retinoids and other isoprenes, have been isolated from a variety of organisms including marine sponges as well as from the human eye. A milk whey protein has also demonstrated the formation of a cycloterpenal derived from beta-ionylidineacetaldehyde. Here, we generate a synthetic library of these molecules where we detail reaction conditions required to effect cross condensation of alpha,beta-unsaturated aldehydes as opposed to homodimerization. The ability of this class of molecules to activate neurite outgrowth activity is reported.
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry 09/2008; 16(16):7573-81. · 2.82 Impact Factor
  • Eun Jin Kim, Scott Angell, Jeff Janes, Coran M H Watanabe
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    ABSTRACT: Traditional approaches to natural product discovery involve cell-based screening of natural product extracts followed by compound isolation and characterization. Their importance notwithstanding, continued mining leads to depletion of natural resources and the reisolation of previously identified metabolites. Metagenomic strategies aimed at localizing the biosynthetic cluster genes and expressing them in surrogate hosts offers one possible alternative. A fundamental question that naturally arises when pursuing such a strategy is, how large must the genomic library be to effectively represent the genome of an organism(s) and the biosynthetic gene clusters they harbor? Such an issue is certainly augmented in the absence of expensive robotics to expedite colony picking and/or screening of clones. We have developed an algorism, named BPC (biosynthetic pathway coverage), supported by molecular simulations to deduce the number of BAC clones required to achieve proper coverage of the genome and their respective biosynthetic pathways. The strategy has been applied to the construction of a large-insert BAC library from a marine microorganism, Hon6 (isolated from Honokohau, Maui) thought to represent a new species. The genomic library is constructed with a BAC yeast shuttle vector pClasper lacZ paving the way for the culturing of libraries in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic hosts. Flow cytometric methods are utilized to estimate the genome size of the organism and BPC implemented to assess P-coverage or percent coverage. A genetic selection strategy is illustrated, applications of which could expedite screening efforts in the identification and localization of biosynthetic pathways from marine microbial consortia, offering a powerful complement to genome sequencing and degenerate probe strategies. Implementing this approach, we report on the biotin biosynthetic pathway from the marine microorganism Hon6.
    Molecular BioSystems 07/2008; 4(6):606-13. · 3.35 Impact Factor
  • Bennie J Bench, Victor H Suarez, Coran M H Watanabe
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    ABSTRACT: The quinazolines represent a useful natural product scaffold with demonstrated activities against disorders such as high blood pressure and benign prostatic hyperplasia. Here we report on the synthesis and biological activity of a series of quinazolines that were prepared by a one-pot synthesis of substituted cyclohexadiene enaminonitriles from methyl-ketones. The approach, which employs NaH, complements published procedures where LDA is utilized. While the NaH catalyzed reaction generates the cyclohexadiene enaminonitriles in high yields with heterocyclic substrates, the reaction fails to promote product formation of aliphatic alkyl substrates. On the contrary, the LDA mediated synthesis favors the long chain alkyl substituents while reactions involving the aromatic substrates result in low yields. The final conversion to the quinazolines is also a modification on literature protocols. In cellular assays, the quinazolines showed the most promising activity against Jurkat with CC(50) values in the low micromolar range. Weak activity was observed against microbial strains (Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae). The substituted enaminonitrile intermediates also exhibited weak anti-microbial activity and cytotoxicity against human T-cell leukemia.
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters 06/2008; 18(10):3126-30. · 2.65 Impact Factor
  • Gilbert T Kelly, Vasudha Sharma, Coran M H Watanabe
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    ABSTRACT: Azinomycin B is an environmental DNA crosslinking agent produced by the soil microorganism Streptomyces sahachiroi. While the agent displays potent cytotoxic activities against leukemic cell lines and animal mouse models, the lack of a consistent supply of the natural product has hampered detailed biological investigations on the compound, including its mode of action and biosynthesis. We report here a significant methodological improvement in the culturing of the bacterium, which allows reliable and steady production of the natural product in good yields. The key experimental step involves the culturing of the strain on dehydrated plates, followed by the generation of a two-stage starter culture and subsequent fermentation of the strain under nutrient-starved conditions. We illustrate use of this culture system by investigating the formation of the enol fragment of the molecule in isotopic labeling experiments with threonine and several advanced precursors (beta-ketoamino acid 3, beta-hydroxyamino aldehyde 4, and beta-ketoaminoaldehyde 5). The results unequivocally show that threonine is the most advanced precursor accepted by the NRPS (non-ribosomal peptidyl synthetase) machinery for final processing and construction of the enol moiety of the natural product.
    Bioorganic Chemistry 03/2008; 36(1):4-15. · 1.73 Impact Factor
  • Bennie J. Bench, Victor H. Suarez, Coran M. H. Watanabe
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    ABSTRACT: ChemInform is a weekly Abstracting Service, delivering concise information at a glance that was extracted from about 200 leading journals. To access a ChemInform Abstract of an article which was published elsewhere, please select a “Full Text” option. The original article is trackable via the “References” option.
    ChemInform 01/2008; 39(42).
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    ABSTRACT: Marine microbial populations collected from the Hawaiian Islands were screened for antimicrobial activity. A blue metabolite was identified from mixed cell cultures, but production was not evident in pure cultures. Experiments designed to probe the synergistic role of the microorganisms are presented. Full characterization of the blue natural product, pyocyanin, is provided including corrections made to 1H and 13C-NMR assignments of the molecule misreported in the chemical literature and yeast transcriptome analysis. The transcriptional effects were consistent with the compound's purported role as an inducer of oxidative stress and damage and illustrates the overall potential of the method to reveal the primary biological/cellular effects of a natural product. The experiments outlined here might serve as a general paradigm for identification of natural products arising from microbial communities and investigation of their respective interactions.
    Chemistry & Biology 01/2007; 13(12):1349-59. · 6.16 Impact Factor
  • Bennie J Bench, Chaomin Liu, Colin R Evett, Coran M H Watanabe
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    ABSTRACT: 1,2,4-Trisubstituted cyclohexadienals can be prepared synthetically by self-condensation of beta-methyl substituted alpha, beta-unsaturated aldehydes. While molecules with this structural scaffold have been observed in nature, the biological roles of these compounds have yet to be thoroughly investigated. Here we investigate the use of L-proline and its derivatives to effect synthesis of these ring-fused homodimers. The scope of this reaction is investigated with different substrates and proline derivatives. Mechanistic hypotheses are put forth supported by NMR and mass spectrometry studies. The method will enable diversification of this scaffold in sufficient quantities for biological investigations.
    The Journal of Organic Chemistry 01/2007; 71(25):9458-63. · 4.56 Impact Factor
  • Bennie J. Bench, Chaomin Liu, Colin R. Evett, Coran M. H. Watanabe
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    ABSTRACT: ChemInform is a weekly Abstracting Service, delivering concise information at a glance that was extracted from about 200 leading journals. To access a ChemInform Abstract, please click on HTML or PDF.
    ChemInform 01/2007; 38(16).
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    ABSTRACT: Studies on the mechanism of action of the antitumor agent azinomycin B in vitro suggest that the drug elicits its lethal effects by the formation of interstrand crosslinks within the major groove of DNA. Here, we demonstrate the biological effects of the drug in vivo. Fluorescence imaging revealed localization of azinomycin B in the nuclear region of yeast. Moreover, experiments with oligonucleotide microarrays examined the effects of the drug across the yeast transcriptome. The results demonstrated a robust DNA damage response that supports the proposed role of the drug as a covalent DNA modifying agent. RT-PCR analysis validated the gene changes, and flow cytometry of azinomycin-treated yeast cells demonstrated a phenotypic S phase shift consistent with transcriptional effects.
    Chemistry & Biology 06/2006; 13(5):485-92. · 6.16 Impact Factor
  • Chaomin Liu, Gilbert T Kelly, Coran M H Watanabe
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    ABSTRACT: [reaction: see text] Azinomycins have potential therapeutic value as antitumor agents; however, their biosynthesis is poorly understood. Here, we provide the first demonstration of a protein cell-free system capable of supporting complete in vitro biosynthesis of the antitumor agent azinomycin B. The cell-free system is utilized to probe the cofactor dependence and substrate requirements of the pathway en route to azinomycin.
    Organic Letters 04/2006; 8(6):1065-8. · 6.14 Impact Factor