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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Antimicrobial activities of naphthazarins from Arnebia euchroma.

Bioassay-directed fractionation of extract of Arnebia euchroma led to the isolation of alkannin (1), shikonin (2), and their derivatives (3-8) as the active principles against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE). The stereochemistry of alpha-methylbutyryl alkannin (8) is revealed for the first time, and the antimicrobial activity of 8 was compared with its corresponding diastereomer (9). The derivatives 3-9 showed stronger anti-MRSA activity [minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) ranged from 1.56 to 3.13 microg/mL] than alkannin or shikonin (MIC = 6.25 microg/mL). Anti-MRSA activity of derivatives was bactericidal with minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC)/MIC < or = 2. In a time-kill assay, the bactericidal activity against MRSA was achieved as rapidly as 2 h. The derivatives 3-9 were also active against vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (F935) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecalis (CKU-17) with MICs similar to those with MRSA. Aromatic ester derivatives were also synthesized for antimicrobial activity comparison. None of these compounds were active against Gram-negative bacteria tested. Their cytotoxicity was also evaluated on selected cancer cell lines, and they expressed their activity in the range 0.6-5.4 microg/mL (CD(50)). Our results indicate that the ester derivatives of alkannin are potential candidates of anti-MRSA and anti-VRE agents with antitumor activity.[1]


  1. Antimicrobial activities of naphthazarins from Arnebia euchroma. Shen, C.C., Syu, W.J., Li, S.Y., Lin, C.H., Lee, G.H., Sun, C.M. J. Nat. Prod. (2002) [Pubmed]
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