Latest articles in this journal
Molecules, Volume 25; doi:10.3390/molecules25184279
The quinoline ring system has long been known as a versatile nucleus in the design and synthesis of biologically active compounds. Currently, more than one hundred quinoline compounds have been approved in therapy as antimicrobial, local anaesthetic, antipsychotic, and anticancer drugs. In drug discovery, indeed, over the last few years, an increase in the publication of papers and patents about quinoline derivatives possessing antiproliferative properties has been observed. This trend can be justified by the versatility and accessibility of the quinoline scaffold, from which new derivatives can be easily designed and synthesized. Within the numerous quinoline small molecules developed as antiproliferative drugs, this review is focused on compounds effective on c-Met, VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor), and EGF (epidermal growth factor) receptors, pivotal targets for the activation of important carcinogenic pathways (Ras/Raf/MEK and PI3K/AkT/mTOR). These signalling cascades are closely connected and regulate the survival processes in the cell, such as proliferation, apoptosis, differentiation, and angiogenesis. The antiproliferative biological data of remarkable quinoline compounds have been analysed, confirming the pivotal importance of this ring system in the efficacy of several approved drugs. Furthermore, in view of an SAR (structure-activity relationship) study, the most recurrent ligand–protein interactions of the reviewed molecules are summarized.
Molecules, Volume 25; doi:10.3390/molecules25184284
New anticancer ruthenium(II/III) complexes [RuCl2(DMSO)2(Hapbim)] (1) and [RuCl3(DMSO) (Hapbim)] (2) (Hapbim = 2-aminophenyl benzimidazole) have been synthesized and characterized, and their chemotherapeutic potential evaluated. The interaction of the compounds with DNA was studied by both UV-Visible and fluorescence spectroscopies, revealing intercalation of both the Hapbim ligand and the Ru complexes. The in vitro cytotoxicity of the compounds was tested on human breast cancer (MCF7), human colorectal cancer (Caco2), and normal human liver cell lines (THLE-2), with compound (2) the most potent against cancer cells. The cytotoxic effect of (2) is shown to correlate with the ability of the Ru(III) complex to induce apoptosis and to cause cell-cycle arrest in the G2/M phase. Notably, both compounds were inactive in the noncancerous cell line. The anticancer effect of (2) has also been studied in an EAC (Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma) mouse model. Significantly, the activity of the complex was more pronounced in vivo, with removal of the cancer burden at doses that resulted in only low levels of hepatotoxicity and nephrotoxicity. An apoptosis mechanism was determined by the observation of increased Bax and caspase 3 and decreased Bcl2 expression. Furthermore, (2) decreased oxidative stress and increased the levels of antioxidant enzymes, especially SOD, suggesting the enhancement of normal cell repair. Overall, compound (2) shows great potential as a chemotherapeutic candidate, with promising activity and low levels of side effects.
Molecules, Volume 25; doi:10.3390/molecules25184272
Work from our laboratories over the last 35 years that has focused on Ste2p, a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), and its tridecapeptide ligand α-factor is reviewed. Our work utilized the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model system for understanding peptide-GPCR interactions. It explored the structure and function of synthetic α-factor analogs and biosynthetic receptor domains, as well as designed mutations of Ste2p. The results and conclusions are described using the nuclear magnetic resonance interrogation of synthetic Ste2p transmembrane domains (TMs), the fluorescence interrogation of agonist and antagonist binding, the biochemical crosslinking of peptide analogs to Ste2p, and the phenotypes of receptor mutants. We identified the ligand-binding domain in Ste2p, the functional assemblies of TMs, unexpected and interesting ligand analogs; gained insights into the bound α-factor structure; and unraveled the function and structures of various Ste2p domains, including the N-terminus, TMs, loops connecting the TMs, and the C-terminus. Our studies showed interactions between specific residues of Ste2p in an active state, but not resting state, and the effect of ligand activation on the dimerization of Ste2p. We show that, using a battery of different biochemical and genetic approaches, deep insight can be gained into the structure and conformational dynamics of GPCR-peptide interactions in the absence of a crystal structure.
Molecules, Volume 25; doi:10.3390/molecules25184276
Different technical cork stoppers (blend of natural cork microgranules, one-piece natural cork, agglomerated natural cork, technical cork 1+1) were compared to evaluate the effects on the phenolic, volatile profiles and dissolved oxygen in three red (Merlot, Lagrein red, St. Magdalener) and one rosé (Lagrein rosé) wines, which were stored in bottles for 12 months. Gallic acid, caffeic acid, p-coumaric acid, trans-resveratrol, glutahionyl caftaric acid and protocatechuic acid did not vary remarkably during the first three months, whereas at six months a net increase was reported, followed by a clear decrease at 12 months. The same trend was observed in Lagrein rosé, but only for gallic acid. The total anthocyanins content decreased during the storage period in the four wines. Isopentyl acetate, 1-hexanol, ethyl hexanoate, 2-phenylethyl alcohol, diethyl succinate, ethyl octanoate and ethyl decanoate were the main volatile compounds. The sum of alcohols decreased in all four of the wines. The esters decreased in Merlot; however, they increased in Lagrein rosé, Lagrein red and St. Magdalener during the storage. Univariate and multivariate statistics and a sensory discriminant triangle test displayed similar influences of the different stoppers on the phenolic and volatile compounds during the whole storage duration. The changes detected in the phenolic and volatile concentrations were presumably due to the non-oxygen-mediated reactions occurring during 12 months of storage in bottle.
Molecules, Volume 25; doi:10.3390/molecules25184289
Ionic liquids represent a class of highly versatile organic compounds used extensively in the last decade for lignocellulose biomass fractionation and dissolution, as well as property modifiers for wood materials. This review is dedicated to the use of ionic liquids as antifungal agents for wood preservation. Wood preservation against fungal attack represents a relatively new domain of application for ionic liquids, emerging in the late 1990s. Comparing to other application domains of ionic liquids, this particular one has been relatively little researched. Ionic liquids may be promising as wood preservatives due to their ability to swell wood, which translates into better penetration ability and fixation into the bulk of the wood material than other conventional antifungal agents, avoiding leaching over time. The antifungal character of ionic liquids depends on the nature of their alkyl-substituted cation, on the size and position of their substituents, and of their anion. It pertains to a large variety of wood-colonizing fungi, both Basidiomycetes and Fungiimperfecti.
Molecules, Volume 25; doi:10.3390/molecules25184293
Novel imidazole derivatives were designed, prepared, and evaluated in vitro for antitumor activity. The majority of the tested derivatives showed improved antiproliferative activity compared to the positive control drugs 5-FU and MTX. Among them, compound 4f exhibited outstanding antiproliferative activity against three cancer cell lines and was considerably more potent than both 5-FU and MTX. In particular, the selectivity index indicated that the tolerance of normal L-02 cells to 4f was 23–46-fold higher than that of tumor cells. This selectivity was significantly higher than that exhibited by the positive control drugs. Furthermore, compound 4f induced cell apoptosis by increasing the protein expression levels of Bax and decreasing those of Bcl-2 in a time-dependent manner. Therefore, 4f could be a potential candidate for the development of a novel antitumor agent.
Molecules, Volume 25; doi:10.3390/molecules25184294
Tabebuia impetiginosa, a plant native to the Amazon rainforest and other parts of Latin America, is traditionally used for treating fever, malaria, bacterial and fungal infections, and skin diseases. Additionally, several categories of phytochemicals and extracts isolated from T. impetiginosa have been studied via various models and displayed pharmacological activities. This review aims to uncover and summarize the research concerning T. impetiginosa, particularly its traditional uses, phytochemistry, and immunopharmacological activity, as well as to provide guidance for future research. A comprehensive search of the published literature was conducted to locate original publications pertaining to T. impetiginosa up to June 2020. The main inquiry used the following keywords in various combinations in titles and abstracts: T. impetiginosa, Taheebo, traditional uses, phytochemistry, immunopharmacological, anti-inflammatory activity. Immunopharmacological activity described in this paper includes its anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-autoimmune, and anti-cancer properties. Particularly, T. impetiginosa has a strong effect on anti-inflammatory activity. This paper also describes the target pathway underlying how T. impetiginosa inhibits the inflammatory response. The need for further investigation to identify other pharmacological activities as well as the exact target proteins of T. impetiginosa was also highlighted. T. impetiginosa may provide a new strategy for prevention and treatment of many immunological disorders that foster extensive research to identify potential anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory compounds and fractions as well as to explore the underlying mechanisms of this herb. Further scientific evidence is required for clinical trials on its immunopharmacological effects and safety.
Molecules, Volume 25; doi:10.3390/molecules25184285
Cyclopeptidic chemotherapeutic prodrugs (cPCPs) are macromolecular protease-sensitive doxorubicin (DOX) prodrugs synthesized from a cyclodecapeptidic scaffold, termed Regioselectively Addressable Functionalized Template (RAFT). In order to increase the chemotherapeutic potential of DOX and limit its toxicity, we used a Cathepsin B (Cat B)-sensitive prodrug concept for its targeted release since this enzyme is frequently overexpressed in cancer cells. Copper-free “click” chemistry was used to synthesize cPCPs containing up to four DOX moieties tethered to the upper face of the scaffold through a Cat B-cleavable peptidic linker (GAGRRAAG). On the lower part, PEG 5, 10 and 20 kDa and a fifth peptidyl DOX moiety were grafted in order to improve the solubility, bioavailability and pharmacokinetic profiles of the compound. In vitro results on HT1080 human fibrosarcoma cells showed that cPCPs display a delayed action that consists of a cell cycle arrest in the G2 phase comparable to DOX alone, and increased cell membrane permeability.
Molecules, Volume 25; doi:10.3390/molecules25184280
The growing number of female reproductive system disorders creates a need for novel treatment methods. Tissue engineering brings hope for patients, which enables damaged tissue reconstruction. For this purpose, epithelial cells are cultured on three-dimensional scaffolds. One of the most promising materials is chitosan, which is known for its biocompatibility and biodegradability. The aim of the following study was to verify the potential of chitosan-based biomaterials for pelvic organ prolapse regeneration. The scaffolds were obtained under microwave-assisted conditions in crosslinking reactions, using dicarboxylic acids and aminoacid as crosslinkers, including l-glutamic acid, adipic acid, malonic acid, and levulinic acid. The products were characterized over their physicochemical and biological properties. FT–IR analysis confirmed formation of amide bonds. The scaffolds had a highly porous structure, which was confirmed by SEM analysis. Their porosity was above 90%. The biomaterials had excellent swelling abilities and very good antioxidant properties. The cytotoxicity study was performed on vaginal epithelial VK2/E6E7 and human colon cancer HCT116 cell lines. The results showed that after certain modifications, the proposed scaffolds could be used in pelvic organ prolapse (POP) treatment.
Molecules, Volume 25; doi:10.3390/molecules25184275
Bitterness often associated with whole wheat products may be related to phenolics in the bran. Cyclodextrins (CDs) are known to form inclusion complexes. The objective was to form inclusion complexes between β-CD and wheat phenolics. Pure phenolic acids (trans-ferulic acid (FA), caffeic acid (CA), and p-coumaric acid (CO)) and phenolic acids from wheat bran were used to investigate complex formation potential. Complexes were characterized by spectroscopy techniques, and a computational and molecular modeling study was carried out. The relative amount of complex formation between β-CD and wheat bran extract was CA > CO > FA. The phenolic compounds formed inclusion complexes with β-CDs by non-covalent bonds. The quantum-mechanical calculations supported the experimental results. The most stable complex was CO/β-CD complex. The ΔH value for CO/β-CD complex was −11.72 kcal/mol and was about 3 kcal/mol more stable than the other complexes. The QSPR model showed good correlation between binding energy and 1H NMR shift for the H5 signal. This research shows that phenolics and β-CD inclusion complexes could be utilized to improve the perception of whole meal food products since inclusion complexes have the potential to mask the bitter flavor and enhance the stability of the phenolics in wheat bran.