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

Kifunensine, a potent inhibitor of the glycoprotein processing mannosidase I.

Kifunensine, produced by the actinomycete Kitasatosporia kifunense 9482, is an alkaloid that corresponds to a cyclic oxamide derivative of 1-amino mannojirimycin. This compound was reported to be a weak inhibitor of jack bean alpha-mannosidase (IC50 of 1.2 x 10(-4) M) (Kayakiri, H., Takese, S., Shibata, T., Okamoto, M., Terano, H., Hashimoto, M., Tada, T., and Koda, S. (1989) J. Org. Chem. 54, 4015-4016). We also found that kifunensine was a poor inhibitor of jack bean and mung bean aryl-alpha-mannosidases, but it was a very potent inhibitor of the plant glycoprotein processing enzyme, mannosidase I (IC50 of 2-5 x 10(-8) M), when [3H]mannose-labeled Man9GlcNAc was used as substrate. However, kifunensine was inactive toward the plant mannosidase II. Studies with rat liver microsomes also indicated that kifunensine inhibited the Golgi mannosidase I, but probably does not inhibit the endoplasmic reticulum mannosidase. Kifunensine was tested in cell culture by examining its ability to inhibit processing of the influenza viral glycoproteins in Madin-Darby canine kidney cells. Thus, when kifunensine was placed in the incubation medium at concentrations of 1 microgram/ml or higher, it caused a complete shift in the structure of the N-linked oligosaccharides from complex chains to Man9(GlcNAc)2 structures, in keeping with its inhibition of mannosidase I. On the other hand, even at 50 micrograms/ml, deoxymannojirimyucin did not prevent the formation of all complex chains. Thus kifunensine appears to be one of the most effective glycoprotein processing inhibitors observed thus far, and knowledge of its structure may lead to the development of potent inhibitors for other processing enzymes.[1]


  1. Kifunensine, a potent inhibitor of the glycoprotein processing mannosidase I. Elbein, A.D., Tropea, J.E., Mitchell, M., Kaushal, G.P. J. Biol. Chem. (1990) [Pubmed]
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