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Special Issue "The Molecular Aspect of Natural Secondary Metabolite Products in Health and Disease"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Bioactives and Nutraceuticals".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2018).

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Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Toshio Morikawa
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Pharmaceutical Research and Technology Institute, Kindai University, 3-4-1 Kowakae, Higashi-osaka, Osaka 577-8502, Japan
Interests: isolation and structure determination of bioactive natural products; synthetic studies on bioactive natural products; structure-activity relationship studies on bioactive natural products; studies of bioactive natural products on the application to pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and food additives; mechanisms of action of bioactive natural products
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues:

Natural secondary metabolite products, which are isolated from plants, animals, microorganisms, etc., are classified as polyketides, isoprenoids, steroids, aromatics, alkaloids, etc. Their chemical diversity and variety of biological activities have attracted the attention of chemists, biochemists, biologists, etc. This Special Issue on "The Molecular Aspect of Natural Secondary Metabolite Products in Health and Disease" is intended to offer biological active natural products as candidates and/or leads for pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements, functional foods, cosmetics, food additives, etc. The research fields of this Special Issue include natural products chemistry, phytochemistry, pharmacognosy, food chemistry, bioorganic synthetic chemistry, molecular pharmacology, molecular nutritional sciences, and other related research fields of bioactive natural secondary metabolite products. Original research and review articles on all topics in these research fields are invited. I look forward to receiving many submissions from outstanding expert on these research fields.

Prof. Dr. Toshio Morikawa
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • natural products chemistry
  • phytochemistry
  • pharnacognosy
  • food chemistry
  • bioorganic chemistry
  • molecular pharmacology
  • molecular nutritional sciences
  • isolation and structure determination
  • total synthesis
  • structure-activity relationship

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Article
Comparative Transcriptome Analysis Identifies Genes Putatively Involved in 20-Hydroxyecdysone Biosynthesis in Cyanotis arachnoidea
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(7), 1885; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms19071885 - 27 Jun 2018
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1573
Abstract
Cyanotis arachnoidea contains a rich array of phytoecdysteroids, including 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E), which displays important agrochemical, medicinal, and pharmacological effects. To date, the biosynthetic pathway of 20E, especially the downstream pathway, remains largely unknown. To identify candidate genes involved in 20E biosynthesis, the comparative [...] Read more.
Cyanotis arachnoidea contains a rich array of phytoecdysteroids, including 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E), which displays important agrochemical, medicinal, and pharmacological effects. To date, the biosynthetic pathway of 20E, especially the downstream pathway, remains largely unknown. To identify candidate genes involved in 20E biosynthesis, the comparative transcriptome of C. arachnoidea leaf and root was constructed. In total, 86.5 million clean reads were obtained and assembled into 79,835 unigenes, of which 39,425 unigenes were successfully annotated. The expression levels of 2427 unigenes were up-regualted in roots with a higher accumulation of 20E. Further assignments with Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways identified 49 unigenes referring to the phytoecdysteroid backbone biosynthesis (including 15 mevalonate pathway genes, 15 non-mevalonate pathway genes, and 19 genes for the biosynthesis from farnesyl pyrophosphate to cholesterol). Moreover, higher expression levels of mevalonate pathway genes in roots of C. arachniodea were confirmed by real-time quantitative PCR. Twenty unigenes encoding CYP450s were identified to be new candidate genes for the bioreaction from cholesterol to 20E. In addition, 90 transcription factors highly expressed in the roots and 15,315 unigenes containing 19,158 simple sequence repeats (SSRs) were identified. The transcriptome data of our study provides a valuable resource for the understanding of 20E biosynthesis in C. arachnoidea. Full article
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Article
Metabolic Reprogramming by 3-Iodothyronamine (T1AM): A New Perspective to Reverse Obesity through Co-Regulation of Sirtuin 4 and 6 Expression
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(5), 1535; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms19051535 - 22 May 2018
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 2853
Abstract
Obesity is a complex disease associated with environmental and genetic factors. 3-Iodothyronamine (T1AM) has revealed great potential as an effective weight loss drug. We used metabolomics and associated transcriptional gene and protein expression analysis to investigate the tissue specific metabolic reprogramming effects of [...] Read more.
Obesity is a complex disease associated with environmental and genetic factors. 3-Iodothyronamine (T1AM) has revealed great potential as an effective weight loss drug. We used metabolomics and associated transcriptional gene and protein expression analysis to investigate the tissue specific metabolic reprogramming effects of subchronic T1AM treatment at two pharmacological daily doses (10 and 25 mg/kg) on targeted metabolic pathways. Multi-analytical results indicated that T1AM at 25 mg/kg can act as a novel master regulator of both glucose and lipid metabolism in mice through sirtuin-mediated pathways. In liver, we observed an increased gene and protein expression of Sirt6 (a master gene regulator of glucose) and Gck (glucose kinase) and a decreased expression of Sirt4 (a negative regulator of fatty acids oxidation (FAO)), whereas in white adipose tissue only Sirt6 was increased. Metabolomics analysis supported physiological changes at both doses with most increases in FAO, glycolysis indicators and the mitochondrial substrate, at the highest dose of T1AM. Together our results suggest that T1AM acts through sirtuin-mediated pathways to metabolically reprogram fatty acid and glucose metabolism possibly through small molecules signaling. Our novel mechanistic findings indicate that T1AM has a great potential as a drug for the treatment of obesity and possibly diabetes. Full article
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Article
Comparison of the Hepatoprotective Effects of Four Endemic Cirsium Species Extracts from Taiwan on CCl4-Induced Acute Liver Damage in C57BL/6 Mice
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(5), 1329; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms19051329 - 30 Apr 2018
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2845
Abstract
Species of Cirsium (Asteraceae family) have been used in folk hepatoprotective medicine in Taiwan. We collected four Cirsium species—including the aerial part of Cirsium arisanense (CAH), the aerial part of Cirsium kawakamii (CKH), the flower part of Cirsium japonicum DC. var. australe (CJF), [...] Read more.
Species of Cirsium (Asteraceae family) have been used in folk hepatoprotective medicine in Taiwan. We collected four Cirsium species—including the aerial part of Cirsium arisanense (CAH), the aerial part of Cirsium kawakamii (CKH), the flower part of Cirsium japonicum DC. var. australe (CJF), and Cirsii Herba (CH)—and then made extractions from them with 70% methanol. We compared the antioxidant contents and activities of these four Cirsium species extracts by a spectrophotometric method and high-performance liquid chromatography–photodiode array detector (HPLC-DAD). We further evaluated the hepatoprotective effects of these extracts on CCl4-induced acute liver damage in C57BL/6 mice. The present study found CAH possesses the highest antioxidant activity among the four Cirsium species, and these antioxidant activities are closely related to phenylpropanoid glycoside (PPG) contents. The extracts decreased serum ALT and AST levels elevated by injection with 0.2% CCl4. However, only CJF and CH decreased hepatic necrosis. Silibinin decreased serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels and hepatic necrosis caused by CCl4. CJF and CH restored the activities of hepatic antioxidant enzymes and decreased hepatic malondialdehyde (MDA) levels. CJF further restored the expression of hepatic antioxidant enzymes including Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase (Cu/Zn-SOD), Mn-superoxide dismutase (Mn-SOD), and glutathione S-transferase (GST) proteins. HPLC chromatogram indicated that CKH, CJF, and CH contained silibinin diastereomers (α and β). Only CJF contained diosmetin. Hence, the hepatoprotective mechanism of CJF against CCl4-induced acute liver damage might be involved in restoring the activities and protein expression of the hepatic antioxidant defense system and inhibiting hepatic inflammation, and these hepatoprotective effects are related to the contents of silibinin diastereomers and diosmetin. Full article
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Article
Caffeic Acid and Metformin Inhibit Invasive Phenotype Induced by TGF-β1 in C-4I and HTB-35/SiHa Human Cervical Squamous Carcinoma Cells by Acting on Different Molecular Targets
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(1), 266; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms19010266 - 16 Jan 2018
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 2143
Abstract
During the progression of epithelial cancer, the cells may lose epithelial markers and gain mesenchymal phenotype via Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT). Such transformation of epithelial cancer cells to mesenchymal-like characteristic benefits plasticity and supports their ability to migrate. The aim of this study was [...] Read more.
During the progression of epithelial cancer, the cells may lose epithelial markers and gain mesenchymal phenotype via Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT). Such transformation of epithelial cancer cells to mesenchymal-like characteristic benefits plasticity and supports their ability to migrate. The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of natural compound Caffeic Acid (CA) alone and in combination with antidiabetic drug Metformin (Met) on metastatic progression of two human cervical squamous cell cancer lines, C-4I and HTB-35/SiHa cells. EMT program was triggered by exposition of both epithelial cell lines to TGF-β1. Gene expression patterns related to epithelial/mesenchymal phenotype were evaluated by Real-Time PCR analysis and the protein amount was detected by western blot. The treatment of human squamous cancer cells with CA and with Met, suppressed the motility of cells and the effect depended on a particular cell line. Both compounds regulated the EMT process in C4-I and HTB-35 cells by interfering with different molecular targets. In TGF-β1-stimulated C4-I cells, CA suppressed the expression of mesenchymal transcription factor SNAI1 which resulted in enhanced expression of epithelial markers E-cadherin, Occludin and Claudin. Additionally, CA blocked MMP-9 and upregulated TIMP-1 expression, a specific inhibitor of MMP-9. In HTB-35 cells stimulated with TGF-β1, Met decreased the expression of Vimentin. By suppressing hypoxia master regulator HIF-1α, Met caused downregulation of CAIX, an enzyme involved in metastasis of aggressive malignant cells. In this study we showed that CA and Met inhibited EMT process in cancer cells via different mechanisms. However, when applied together, compounds exerted the greater effect on EMT than each compound alone. This is the first report revealing that CA alone and co-treated with Met may reverse mesenchymal phenotype of TGF-β1-treated cervical tumor cells and we believe that the use of the two small molecules may be considered as a potential therapeutic approach for metastatic cervical cancer. Full article
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Article
Dietary Resveratrol Does Not Affect Life Span, Body Composition, Stress Response, and Longevity-Related Gene Expression in Drosophila melanogaster
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(1), 223; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms19010223 - 11 Jan 2018
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 3538
Abstract
In this study, we tested the effect of the stilbene resveratrol on life span, body composition, locomotor activity, stress response, and the expression of genes encoding proteins centrally involved in ageing pathways in the model organism Drosophila melanogaster. Male and female w [...] Read more.
In this study, we tested the effect of the stilbene resveratrol on life span, body composition, locomotor activity, stress response, and the expression of genes encoding proteins centrally involved in ageing pathways in the model organism Drosophila melanogaster. Male and female w1118 D. melanogaster were fed diets based on sucrose, corn meal, and yeast. Flies either received a control diet or a diet supplemented with 500 µmol/L resveratrol. Dietary resveratrol did not affect mean, median, and maximal life span of male and female flies. Furthermore, body composition remained largely unchanged following the resveratrol supplementation. Locomotor activity, as determined by the climbing index, was not significantly different between control and resveratrol-supplemented flies. Resveratrol-fed flies did not exhibit an improved stress response towards hydrogen peroxide as compared to controls. Resveratrol did not change mRNA steady levels of antioxidant (catalase, glutathione-S-transferase, NADH dehydrogenase, glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase 2) and longevity-related genes, including sirtuin 2, spargel, and I’m Not Dead Yet. Collectively, present data suggest that resveratrol does not affect life span, body composition, locomotor activity, stress response, and longevity-associated gene expression in w1118 D. melanogaster. Full article
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Article
Chemical Composition and Bioactivity of Essential Oil from Blepharocalyx salicifolius
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(1), 33; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms19010033 - 04 Jan 2018
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2826
Abstract
Natural products represent a source of biologically active molecules that have an important role in drug discovery. The aromatic plant Blepharocalyx salicifolius has a diverse chemical constitution but the biological activities of its essential oils have not been thoroughly investigated. The aims of [...] Read more.
Natural products represent a source of biologically active molecules that have an important role in drug discovery. The aromatic plant Blepharocalyx salicifolius has a diverse chemical constitution but the biological activities of its essential oils have not been thoroughly investigated. The aims of this paper were to evaluate in vitro cytotoxic, antifungal and antibacterial activities of an essential oil from leaves of B. salicifolius and to identify its main chemical constituents. The essential oil was extracted by steam distillation, chemical composition was determined by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, and biological activities were performed by a microdilution broth method. The yield of essential oil was 0.86% (w/w), and the main constituents identified were bicyclogermacrene (17.50%), globulol (14.13%), viridiflorol (8.83%), γ-eudesmol (7.89%) and α-eudesmol (6.88%). The essential oil was cytotoxic against the MDA-MB-231 (46.60 μg·mL−1) breast cancer cell line, being more selective for this cell type compared to the normal breast cell line MCF-10A (314.44 μg·mL−1). Flow cytometry and cytotoxicity results showed that this oil does not act by inducing cell death, but rather by impairment of cellular metabolism specifically of the cancer cells. Furthermore, it presented antifungal activity against Paracoccidioides brasiliensis (156.25 μg·mL−1) but was inactive against other fungi and bacteria. Essential oil from B. salicifolius showed promising biological activities and is therefore a source of molecules to be exploited in medicine or by the pharmaceutical industry. Full article
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Article
The Evaluation of Pro-Cognitive and Antiamnestic Properties of Berberine and Magnoflorine Isolated from Barberry Species by Centrifugal Partition Chromatography (CPC), in Relation to QSAR Modelling
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(12), 2511; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms18122511 - 24 Nov 2017
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2333
Abstract
Civilization diseases associated with memory disorders are important health problems occurring due to a prolonged life span. The manuscript shows the results of an in vivo study targeting the emergence of two drug candidates with anti-amnestic properties. The preceding quantitative structure–activity relationship (QSAR) [...] Read more.
Civilization diseases associated with memory disorders are important health problems occurring due to a prolonged life span. The manuscript shows the results of an in vivo study targeting the emergence of two drug candidates with anti-amnestic properties. The preceding quantitative structure–activity relationship (QSAR) studies provided information on the ability of berberine and magnoflorine to cross the blood–brain barrier (BBB). In the light of these findings, both compounds were purified from crude plant extracts of barberries: berberine—from Berberis siberica using a method published earlier, and magnoflorine—from Berberis cretica by centrifugal partition chromatography (solvent system: ethyl acetate:butanol:water-0.6:1.5:3 v/v/v). Both the compounds were evaluated for their memory enhancing and scopolamine inhibitory properties in an in vivo passive avoidance (PA) test on mice towards short-term and long-term memory. Cognition enhancing properties were observed at the following doses: 5 mg/kg (i.p.) for berberine and 20 mg/kg (i.p.) for magnoflorine. In addition, both the tested isoquinolines with the co-administered scopolamine were found to block long-term but not short-term memory impairment. No influence on the locomotor activity was observed for the tested doses. The results confirmed a marked central activity of magnoflorine and showed the necessity to lower the dosage of berberine. Optimized purification conditions have been elaborated for magnoflorine. Full article
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Article
Ergostane-Type Sterols from King Trumpet Mushroom (Pleurotus eryngii) and Their Inhibitory Effects on Aromatase
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(11), 2479; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms18112479 - 21 Nov 2017
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2470
Abstract
Two new ergostane-type sterols; (22E)-5α,6α-epoxyergosta-8,14,22-triene-3β,7β-diol (1) and 5α,6α-epoxyergost-8(14)-ene-3β,7α-diol (2) were isolated from the fruiting bodies of king trumpet mushroom (Pleurotus eryngii), along with eight known compounds (310). All isolated [...] Read more.
Two new ergostane-type sterols; (22E)-5α,6α-epoxyergosta-8,14,22-triene-3β,7β-diol (1) and 5α,6α-epoxyergost-8(14)-ene-3β,7α-diol (2) were isolated from the fruiting bodies of king trumpet mushroom (Pleurotus eryngii), along with eight known compounds (310). All isolated compounds were evaluated for their inhibitory effects on aromatase. Among them, 4 and 6 exhibited comparable aromatase inhibitory activities to aminoglutethimide. Full article
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Review

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Review
Use of Curcumin, a Natural Polyphenol for Targeting Molecular Pathways in Treating Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(6), 1637; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms19061637 - 31 May 2018
Cited by 74 | Viewed by 6567
Abstract
Progressive accumulation of misfolded amyloid proteins in intracellular and extracellular spaces is one of the principal reasons for synaptic damage and impairment of neuronal communication in several neurodegenerative diseases. Effective treatments for these diseases are still lacking but remain the focus of much [...] Read more.
Progressive accumulation of misfolded amyloid proteins in intracellular and extracellular spaces is one of the principal reasons for synaptic damage and impairment of neuronal communication in several neurodegenerative diseases. Effective treatments for these diseases are still lacking but remain the focus of much active investigation. Despite testing several synthesized compounds, small molecules, and drugs over the past few decades, very few of them can inhibit aggregation of amyloid proteins and lessen their neurotoxic effects. Recently, the natural polyphenol curcumin (Cur) has been shown to be a promising anti-amyloid, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective agent for several neurodegenerative diseases. Because of its pleotropic actions on the central nervous system, including preferential binding to amyloid proteins, Cur is being touted as a promising treatment for age-related brain diseases. Here, we focus on molecular targeting of Cur to reduce amyloid burden, rescue neuronal damage, and restore normal cognitive and sensory motor functions in different animal models of neurodegenerative diseases. We specifically highlight Cur as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and prion diseases. In addition, we discuss the major issues and limitations of using Cur for treating these diseases, along with ways of circumventing those shortcomings. Finally, we provide specific recommendations for optimal dosing with Cur for treating neurological diseases. Full article
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Review
Plant Secondary Metabolites as Anticancer Agents: Successes in Clinical Trials and Therapeutic Application
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(1), 263; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms19010263 - 16 Jan 2018
Cited by 198 | Viewed by 8148
Abstract
Cancer is a multistage process resulting in an uncontrolled and abrupt division of cells and is one of the leading causes of mortality. The cases reported and the predictions for the near future are unthinkable. Food and Drug Administration data showed that 40% [...] Read more.
Cancer is a multistage process resulting in an uncontrolled and abrupt division of cells and is one of the leading causes of mortality. The cases reported and the predictions for the near future are unthinkable. Food and Drug Administration data showed that 40% of the approved molecules are natural compounds or inspired by them, from which, 74% are used in anticancer therapy. In fact, natural products are viewed as more biologically friendly, that is less toxic to normal cells. In this review, the most recent and successful cases of secondary metabolites, including alkaloid, diterpene, triterpene and polyphenolic type compounds, with great anticancer potential are discussed. Focusing on the ones that are in clinical trial development or already used in anticancer therapy, therefore successful cases such as paclitaxel and homoharringtonine (in clinical use), curcumin and ingenol mebutate (in clinical trials) will be addressed. Each compound’s natural source, the most important steps in their discovery, their therapeutic targets, as well as the main structural modifications that can improve anticancer properties will be discussed in order to show the role of plants as a source of effective and safe anticancer drugs. Full article
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Review
Antidiabetic Potential of Monoterpenes: A Case of Small Molecules Punching above Their Weight
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(1), 4; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms19010004 - 21 Dec 2017
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 2678
Abstract
Monoterpenes belong to the terpenoids class of natural products and are bio-synthesized through the mevalonic acid pathway. Their small molecular weight coupled with high non-polar nature make them the most abundant components of essential oils which are often considered to have some general [...] Read more.
Monoterpenes belong to the terpenoids class of natural products and are bio-synthesized through the mevalonic acid pathway. Their small molecular weight coupled with high non-polar nature make them the most abundant components of essential oils which are often considered to have some general antioxidant and antimicrobial effects at fairly high concentrations. These compounds are however reported to have antidiabetic effects in recent years. Thanks to the ingenious biosynthetic machinery of nature, they also display a fair degree of structural complexity/diversity for further consideration in structure-activity studies. In the present communication, the merit of monoterpenes as antidiabetic agents is scrutinized by assessing recent in vitro and in vivo studies reported in the scientific literature. Both the aglycones and glycosides of these compounds of rather small structural size appear to display antidiabetic along with antiobesity and lipid lowering effects. The diversity of these effects vis-à-vis their structures and mechanisms of actions are discussed. Some key pharmacological targets include the insulin signaling pathways and/or the associated PI3K-AKT (protein kinase B), peroxisome proliferator activated receptor-γ (PPARγ), glucose transporter-4 (GLUT4) and adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) pathways; proinflammatory cytokines and the NF-κB pathway; glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis in the liver; glucagon-like-1 receptor (GLP-1R); among others. Full article
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