[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Two major human diseases caused by filariid nematodes are onchocerciasis, or river blindness, and lymphatic filariasis, which can lead to elephantiasis. The drugs ivermectin, diethylcarbamazine (DEC), and albendazole are used in control programs for these diseases, but are mainly effective against the microfilarial stage and have minimal or no effect on adult worms. Adult Onchocerca volvulus and Brugia malayi worms (macrofilariae) can live for up to 15 years, reproducing and allowing the infection to persist in a population. Therefore, to support control or elimination of these two diseases, effective macrofilaricidal drugs are necessary, in addition to current drugs. In an effort to identify macrofilaricidal drugs, we screened an FDA-approved library with adult worms of Brugia spp. and Onchocerca ochengi, third-stage larvae (L3s) of Onchocerca volvulus, and the microfilariae of both O. ochengi and Loa loa. We found that auranofin, a gold-containing drug used for rheumatoid arthritis, was effective in vitro in killing both Brugia spp. and O. ochengi adult worms and in inhibiting the molting of L3s of O. volvulus with IC50 values in the low micromolar to nanomolar range. Auranofin had an approximately 43-fold higher IC50 against the microfilariae of L. loa compared with the IC50 for adult female O. ochengi, which may be beneficial if used in areas where Onchocerca and Brugia are co-endemic with L. loa, to prevent severe adverse reactions to the drug-induced death of L. loa microfilariae. Further testing indicated that auranofin is also effective in reducing Brugia adult worm burden in infected gerbils and that auranofin may be targeting the thioredoxin reductase in this nematode.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: eLife digest
Pluripotent stem cells have the potential to become most of the cell types that make up an organism. However, the signals that trigger these cells to turn into neurons rather than lung cells or muscle cells, for example, are not fully understood. Proteins called growth factors are known to have a role in this process, as are transcription factors, but it is not clear if other factors are also involved.
In an attempt to identify additional mechanisms that could contribute to the formation of neurons, Sun et al. screened more than 2,000 small molecules for their ability to transform mouse pluripotent stem cells into neurons in cell culture. Surprisingly, they found that a compound called selamectin, which is used to treat parasitic flatworm infections, also triggered stem cells to turn into neurons.
Selamectin works by blocking a particular type of ion channel in flatworms, but this ion channel is not found in vertebrates, which means that selamectin must be promoting the formation of neurons in mice via a different mechanism. Given that a drug related to selamectin is known to act on a subtype of receptors for the neurotransmitter GABA, Sun et al. wondered whether these receptors—known as GABAA receptors—might also underlie the effects of selamectin. Consistent with this idea, drugs that increased GABAA activity stimulated the formation of neurons, whereas drugs that reduced GABAA function blocked the effects of selamectin.
In addition, Sun et al. showed that selamectin triggers human embryonic stem cells to become neurons, and that it also promotes the formation of new neurons in developing zebrafish in vivo. As well as revealing an additional mechanism for the formation of neurons from stem cells, the screening technique introduced by Sun et al. could help to identify further pro-neuronal molecules, which could aid the treatment of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: K2P (KCNK) potassium channels generate 'leak' potassium currents that strongly influence cellular excitability and contribute to pain, somatosensation, anesthesia, and mood. Despite their physiological importance, K2Ps lack specific pharmacology. Addressing this issue has been complicated by the challenges that the leak nature of K2P currents poses for electrophysiology-based high throughput screening strategies. Here, we present a yeast-based high-throughput screening assay that avoids this problem. Using a simple growth-based functional readout, we screened a library of 106,281 small molecules and identified two new inhibitors and three new activators of the mammalian K2P channel K2P2.1 (KCNK2, TREK 1). By combining biophysical, structure activity, and mechanistic analysis, we developed a dihydroacridine analog, ML67-33, that acts as a low micromolar, selective activator of temperature- and mechano-sensitive K2P channels. Biophysical studies show that ML67-33 reversibly increases channel currents by activating the extracellular selectivity filter-based C type gate that forms the core gating apparatus on which a variety of diverse modulatory inputs converge. The new K2P modulators presented here, together with the yeast based assay, should enable both mechanistic and physiological studies of K2P activity and facilitate the discovery and development of other K2P small molecule modulators.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · ACS Chemical Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A high-throughput (HT) paradigm generating LC-MS-UV-ELSD-based natural product libraries to discover compounds with new bioactivities and or molecular structures is presented. To validate this methodology, an extract of the Indo-Pacific marine sponge Cacospongia mycofijiensis was evaluated using assays involving cytoskeletal profiling, tumor cell lines, and parasites. Twelve known compounds were identified including latrunculins (1-4, 10), fijianolides (5, 8, 9), mycothiazole (11), aignopsanes (6, 7), and sacrotride A (13). Compounds 1-5 and 8-11 exhibited bioactivity not previously reported against the parasite T. brucei, while 11 showed selectivity for lymphoma (U937) tumor cell lines. Four new compounds were also discovered including aignopsanoic acid B (13), apo-latrunculin T (14), 20-methoxy-fijianolide A (15), and aignopsane ketal (16). Compounds 13 and 16 represent important derivatives of the aignopsane class, 14 exhibited inhibition of T. brucei without disrupting microfilament assembly, and 15 demonstrated modest microtubule-stabilizing effects. The use of removable well plate libraries to avoid false positives from extracts enriched with only one or two major metabolites is also discussed. Overall, these results highlight the advantages of applying modern methods in natural products-based research to accelerate the HT discovery of therapeutic leads and/or new molecular structures using LC-MS-UV-ELSD-based libraries.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2011 · Journal of Natural Products
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The use of a high-throughput technique to perform a pilot screen for Leishmania major protein disulfide isomerase (LmPDI) inhibitors identification is reported. In eukaryotic cells, protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) plays a crucial role in protein folding by catalyzing the rearrangement of disulfide bonds in substrate proteins following their synthesis. LmPDI displays similar domain structure organization and functional properties to other PDI family members and is involved in Leishmania virulence. The authors used a method based on the enzyme-catalyzed reduction of insulin in the presence of dithiothreitol. The screen of a small library of 1920 compounds was performed in a 384-well format and led to the identification of 27 compounds with inhibitory activity against LmPDI. The authors further tested the cytotoxicity of these compounds using Jurkat cells as well as their effect on Leishmania donovani amastigotes using high-content analysis. Results show hexachlorophene and a mixture of theaflavin monogallates inhibit Leishmania multiplication in infected macrophages derived from THP-1 cells, although the inhibitory effect on LmPDI enzymatic activity does not necessarily correlate with the antileishmanial activity.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2011 · Journal of Biomolecular Screening
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report the discovery of benzoxaborole antitrypanosomal agents and their structure−activity relationships on central linkage groups and different substitution patterns in the sulfur-linked series. The compounds showed in vitro growth inhibition IC50 values as low as 0.02 μg/mL and in vivo efficacy in acute murine infection models against Tryapnosoma brucei.Keywords (keywords): Tryapnosoma brucei; African trypanosomiasis; benzoxaborole
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT, commonly known as African sleeping sickness) is categorized as a neglected disease, as it afflicts >50,000 people annually in sub-saharan Africa, and there are few formal programs in the world focused on drug discovery approaches for this disease. In this study, we examined the crude extracts of two fungal strains (Aspergillus fumigatus and Nectria inventa) isolated from deep water sediment which provided >99% growth inhibition at 1microg/mL of Trypanosoma brucei, the causative parasite of HAT. A collection of fifteen natural products was supplemented with six semi-synthetic derivatives and one commercially available compound. Twelve of the compounds, each containing a diketopiperazine core, showed excellent activity against T. brucei (IC(50)=0.002-40microM), with selectivity over mammalian cells as great as 20-fold. The trypanocidal diketopiperazines were also tested against two cysteine protease targets Rhodesain and TbCatB, where five compounds showed inhibition activity at concentrations less than 20microM. A preliminary activity pattern is described and analyzed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Trypanosoma cruzi and Trypanosoma brucei are parasites that cause Chagas' disease and African sleeping sickness, respectively. Both parasites rely on essential cysteine proteases for survival: cruzain for T. cruzi and TbCatB/rhodesain for T. brucei. A recent quantitative high-throughput screen of cruzain identified triazine nitriles, which are known inhibitors of other cysteine proteases, as reversible inhibitors of the enzyme. Structural modifications detailed herein, including core scaffold modification from triazine to purine, improved the in vitro potency against both cruzain and rhodesain by 350-fold, while also gaining activity against T. brucei parasites. Selected compounds were screened against a panel of human cysteine and serine proteases to determine selectivity, and a cocrystal was obtained of our most potent analogue bound to cruzain.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2009 · Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] 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.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A survey of individual specimens of northern Papua New Guinea derived Cacospongia mycofijiensis has yielded novel sesquiterpenes, aignopsanoic acid A (1), methyl aignopsanoate A (2), and isoaignopsanoic acid A (3). The structures and absolute configurations of 1-3 were established using NMR data, X-ray crystallography results, and an analysis of CD properties. Two of these metabolites, 1 and 2, were moderately active against Trypanosoma brucei, the parasite responsible for sleeping sickness.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human African trypanosomiasis, also known as African sleeping sickness, is a neglected tropical disease with inadequate therapeutic options. We have launched a collaborative new lead discovery venture using our repository of extracts and natural product compounds as input into our growth inhibition primary screen against Trypanosoma brucei. Careful evaluation of the spectral data of the natural products and derivatives allowed for the elucidation of the absolute configuration (using the modified Mosher's method) of two new peroxiterpenes: (+)-muqubilone B (1a) and (-)-ent-muqubilone (3a). Five known compounds were also isolated: (+)-sigmosceptrellin A (4a), (+)-sigmosceptrellin A methyl ester (4b), (-)-sigmosceptrellin B (5), (+)-epi-muqubillin A (6), and (-)-epi-nuapapuin B methyl ester (7). The isolated peroxiterpenes demonstrated activities in the range IC(50) = 0.2-2 mug/mL.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2009 · Journal of Natural Products