Investigation of the electrophilic reactivity of the cytotoxic marine alkaloid discorhabdin B
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The mechanisms of action of the cytotoxic marine pyrroloiminoquinone alkaloids the discorhabdins are unknown. We have determined that discorhabdin B acts as an electrophile towards biomimetic thiol nucleophiles leading to debrominated adducts. In contrast, less potent cytotoxins discorhabdins D and Q failed to react, supporting an SAR model of cytotoxicity requiring an orchestrated combination of an electrophilic ?1 carbon centre and a nucleophilic N-18 amine for potent activity. The stereospecific nature of nucleophile trapping exhibited by both enantiomers of discorhabdin B implies the biogenesis of ovothiol A substituted discorhabdins H, H2, K and K2 need not be mediated by enzymatic processes.
Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry
Natural Products Chemistry