The investigation of the constituents that were isolated from Turnera diffusa
(damiana) for their inhibitory activities against recombinant human monoamine oxidases (MAO-A and MAO-B) in vitro identified acacetin 7-methyl ether as a potent selective inhibitor of MAO-B (IC50
= 198 nM). Acacetin 7-methyl ether (also known as 5-hydroxy-4′, 7-dimethoxyflavone) is a naturally occurring flavone that is present in many plants and vegetables. Acacetin 7-methyl ether was four-fold less potent as an inhibitor of MAO-B when compared to acacetin (IC50
= 50 nM). However, acacetin 7-methyl ether was >500-fold selective against MAO-B over MAO-A as compared to only two-fold selectivity shown by acacetin. Even though the IC50
for inhibition of MAO-B by acacetin 7-methyl ether was ~four-fold higher than that of the standard drug deprenyl (i.e., SelegilineTM
, a selective MAO-B inhibitor), acacetin 7-methyl ether’s selectivity for MAO-B over MAO-A inhibition was greater than that of deprenyl (>500- vs. 450-fold). The binding of acacetin 7-methyl ether to MAO-B was reversible and time-independent, as revealed by enzyme-inhibitor complex equilibrium dialysis assays. The investigation on the enzyme inhibition-kinetics analysis with varying concentrations of acacetin 7-methyl ether and the substrate (kynuramine) suggested a competitive mechanism of inhibition of MAO-B by acacetin 7-methyl ether with Ki value of 45 nM. The docking scores and binding-free energies of acacetin 7-methyl ether to the X-ray crystal structures of MAO-A and MAO-B confirmed the selectivity of binding of this molecule to MAO-B over MAO-A. In addition, molecular dynamics results also revealed that acacetin 7-methyl ether formed a stable and strong complex with MAO-B. The selective inhibition of MAO-B suggests further investigations on acacetin 7-methyl as a potential new drug lead for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson’s disease.
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