This review describes two novel synthetic routes from (S)-pyroglutaminol to (+)-lactacystin, a potent inhibitor of the 20S proteasome and from d-gluconolactone derivative to zaragozic acid C, a potent squalene synthase inhibitor. In lactacystin synthesis, the photoinduced intermolecular C(sp3)-H alkynylation and intramolecular C(sp3)-H acylation chemoselectively and stereoselectively constructed the tetrasubstituted and trisubstituted carbon centers, respectively. In the synthesis of zaragozic acid C, the stereoselective installation of the two contiguous tetrasubstituted carbons was achieved by the photochemical intramolecular C(sp3)-H acylation of a densely oxygenated intermediate.
Marine environments offer a rich source of natural products with potential therapeutic applications because the ocean covers 70% of the earth's surface and approximately 80% of all living organisms live in the sea. Therefore we have investigated bioactive compounds from marine organisms such as marine sponges, ascidians, and marine-derived microorganisms. This review consists of two topics based on marine natural product chemistry. (1) Protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP) 1B plays a key role as a negative regulator in the insulin and leptin signaling pathways. Accordingly, the development of PTP1B inhibitors is expected to provide new drugs for type 2 diabetes and obesity. We have been searching for new types of PTP1B inhibitors among marine organisms and identified various PTP1B inhibitors from marine sponges and fungi. This review presents their structural diversities and unique biological properties. (2) In the course of our studies on the induced production of new fungal metabolites, the Palauan marine-derived fungus, Trichoderma cf. brevicompactum TPU199, was found to produce the unusual epipolythiodiketopiperazines, gliovirin and pretrichodermamide A. Long-term static fermentation of the strain induced production of a new dipeptide, dithioaspergillazine A, whereas fermentation of the strain with NaCl, NaBr, and NaI produced the Cl and Br derivatives of pretrichodermamide A and a new iodinated derivative, iododithiobrevamide, respectively. Moreover, DMSO-added seawater medium induced the production of diketopiperazine with the unprecedented trithio-bridge, chlorotrithiobrevamide. This fermentation study on the strain as well as the structures of the metabolites obtained are described in this review.
The chemistry of the 3,3,3-trifluoroprop-1-enyl (TFPE) group has attractive characteristics in medicinal chemistry as a new fluorine motif. However, there are no reports on the properties of this group because it is difficult to construct molecules with it. For the convenient construction of the TFPE group, a new fluorination reagent, CF3CH=CHTMS (1), was developed from commercially available chemicals with easy purification processes and excellent yields. The utility of 1 as a trifluoropropenylation reagent was exhibited in several types of reaction such as the Sonogashira cross-coupling reaction. Furthermore an indometacin analogue bearing a TFPE group showed greater pharmaceutical activity than the original indometacin. This review describes the details of these research studies under three topics: 1) synthesis of 1; 2) Sonogashira cross-coupling reaction of 1 with acetylene, followed by cyclization into an indole ring; and 3) synthesis of an indometacin analogue with a TFPE group.
The precise proof of a crime using objective evidence is becoming increasingly important as Japan's crime rate climbs. This need arises not only from the current high rate of anonymous crime, but also the introduction of a Saiban-in (citizen judge) system, and the increased silence of suspects following investigation visualization. Forensic science is an academic field that investigates legal (and illegal) matters using science, and subsequently applies research results to resolving real crime cases. Materials examined during forensic practice include both common specimens, such as fingerprints, footprints, blood stains, and hairs, and less common specimens, such as soils, plants, dust, and pollens. In the event of biological, chemical, or explosive terrorism, air and surface wipe specimens—possibly containing chemical warfare agents, microbes, and explosives—can become critical target materials. Alternatively, on discovering powders and/or liquids that are suspected to be illegal drugs, preliminary tests are performed at the crime scene itself. Subsequently, confirmatory examinations are performed at a forensic science laboratory. Current research efforts are underway to develop simpler and more reliable tools for on-site drug testing, and to develop analytical methods capable of differentiating regioisomers of drugs, performing drug metabolism studies as a way to identify drugs of abuse, and studying the organic synthesis of authentic standard compounds. In this review, we outline current state-of-the-art technologies in forensic chemistry.
The number of persons arrested in Japan for drug-related offenses in 2016 increased from the previous year. Especially, cannabis offenses have increased since 2014, with more than 2000 persons arrested in 2015. As a feature of the year 2017, we analyzed many cannabis concentrates, called “Cannabis wax”, in the process of analyzing cannabis in the Narcotics Control Department. “Cannabis wax” refers to concentrates of the hallucinogenic component of cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Increasingly, cannabis wax containing 50 times higher THC than general dry cannabis has been confiscated. More than 2300 compounds are currently regulated as new psychoactive substances in Japan. In a recent trend, there is an increasing number of cases in which a wide range of regulated substances have been seized and confiscated, ranging from those that have been abused for a long time, to those that are newly regulated. Many structural isomers are present among these, and we are constantly developing techniques for the rapid and accurate analysis of these compounds.
Human hepatocytes possess a wider range of phase I and II drug-metabolizing enzyme activities than other liver tissue-derived products, such as human liver microsomes. Thus, hepatocytes may be useful for predicting the in vivo metabolic fate of new drugs of abuse in humans. Recently, new types of human hepatocytes have been made commercially available for use in drug metabolism studies, such as a liver tumor-derived cell line (HepaRG), and a human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived hepatocyte (h-iPS-HEP). In our laboratory, HepaRG has been used to elucidate the metabolic pathways of XLR-11, a synthetic cannabinoid, and its thermal degradant. In addition, the potential of h-iPS-HEP to metabolize drugs was assessed using fentanyl as a model drug, and indeed, h-iPS-HEP exhibited a pattern for fentanyl metabolite formation similar to that observed in vivo. In addition, the phase I and II drug-metabolizing enzyme activities of HepaRG, h-iPS-HEP, liver-humanized mouse-derived hepatocytes (PXB-cellsTM), and human primary hepatocytes were evaluated and compared. HepaRG showed high phase I and II drug metabolism activities; however, the CYP2D6 activity in these cells was quite low, and therefore h-iPS-HEP lacked O-methylation and conjugation activities. PXB-cells provided optimal results, i.e., these cells are extremely easy to use, and they possess higher phase I and II drug-metabolizing enzyme activities than the other cells tested. Although PXB-cells are contaminated with mouse-derived cells up to a concentration of several percent, this cell system appears to be promising for the prediction of in vivo human metabolism of new drugs of abuse.
Hair testing for drugs has been used extensively in the field of forensics since the 1990s as a means of obtaining firm evidence of drug ingestion. In addition to its longer detection windows, hair is the only specimen that can provide chronological information on individual drug use. Illicit drugs and hypnotics account for the majority of substances involved in crimes; they are usually analyzed to prove an addictive use or an exposure to drugs in drug-facilitated crimes. The mechanism of drug incorporation into hair has been intensively investigated to properly interpret the results of hair analysis. However, the exact mechanism remains under much discussion, despite the growing application of hair tests. Recently, the authors have applied matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS) imaging and sectional hair analysis of 1-mm segments using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) for single-strand hair, to investigate the incorporation pathways of drugs into hair. Time-course changes in drug distribution along single-strand hair suggest that the incorporation of drugs occurs in two regions of the hair root, the hair bulb and the upper part of hair root, and suggest that incorporation from the hair bulb continues for about 2 weeks. Distribution profiles of different drugs in hair additionally revealed that the main incorporation pathway varies (i.e., via the hair bulb or the upper part of hair root) depending on the properties of the drug/metabolite. These findings should be taken into account upon discussing individual drug-use history based on the results of hair analysis.
As a countermeasure against terrorism involving highly toxic chemical warfare agents, the rapid identification of the causative toxic substances is extremely important. This symposium review describes analytical methods the author's group has developed for detecting nerve gases after either high level or low level exposure. As a method for assessing human exposure to high levels of nerve gases, a technology that detects nerve gas hydrolysis products, i.e., strong anion exchange extraction-tert-butyldimethylsilyl derivatization-selectable one-dimensional or two-dimensional GC-MS, is explained. As a method for assessing human exposure to low levels of nerve gases, two technologies that detect adducts of nerve gas with blood cholinesterase, i.e., adduct purification-enzymatic digestion-LC/MS and fluoride-mediated regeneration-solid phase extraction-large volume introduction GC-MS, are explained.
As criminal cases have become more complicated, Japan's law enforcement officials are promoting the use of more sophisticated technologies, such as DNA analysis, in the course of criminal investigations in order to verify facts with objective evidence. The primary DNA analysis method employed by law enforcement officials is short tandem repeat (STR) analysis, a method for identifying individuals utilizing individual differences in the number of repeat units of characteristic DNA sequences. Presently, STR analysis can discriminate between individuals with the probability of one in approximately 4.7 trillion, even when the DNA profile is the most common type among the Japanese population. In every prefectural police department, members of criminal investigation laboratories, who were trained and certified by the Training Center of Forensic Science at the National Research Institute of Police Science, perform STR analysis. Forensic DNA analysis plays an important role not only in criminal investigations but also following large-scale disasters, to aid in individual identification. The accuracy of DNA typing is increasing with the availability of STR typing kits that can examine more loci than conventional kits. However, it remains difficult for DNA analysis to identify individuals with only small amounts of samples, old samples, or mixed samples. New methods for handling these problematic samples are required. Here, we review current investigative techniques and challenges of DNA analysis, and focus on the latest research for solutions to these challenges.
Since the 1980s, zebrafish (Danio rerio) have been used as a valuable model system to investigate developmental processes because they: 1) grow outside their mothers; 2) are transparent during the embryonic stage; and 3) have organs similar to those in humans. Recently, zebrafish have emerged as a powerful model animal for studying not only developmental biology but also human diseases, especially cancer. Owing to the significant advantages of zebrafish, such as low-cost breeding, high efficiency of transgenesis, and ease of in vivo imaging and oncogenic/tumor cell induction, zebrafish offer a unique opportunity to unveil novel mechanisms of cancer progression, invasion, and metastasis. In addition, the small size of zebrafish larvae enables high-throughput chemical screening, and this advantage contributes to generating useful platforms for antitumor drug discovery. Owing to these various merits, which other model animals (such as fly, mouse, and rat) do not possess, zebrafish could achieve a unique status in cancer research. In this review, we discuss the availability of zebrafish for studying cancer and introduce recent cancer studies that have used zebrafish.
Stress-responsive signaling pathways convert cellular stresses into various physiological responses, such as cell proliferation, apoptosis, and inflammation. Signal pathway dysfunction thus induces abnormal cellular behaviors that may lead to tumorigenesis and tumor progression, including metastasis. Tumor metastasis is the spread of tumor cells from primary lesions to other distant tissues/organs. Several types of murine model which mimic the progression of human cancer have been established for preclinical studies to understand the biology of cancer. Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades are one of the stress-responsive signaling pathways and are intricately involved in both tumor promotion and suppression. Here, we present the diverse roles of apoptosis signal-regulating kinase (ASK) family molecules in tumor formation and progression. ASK family is a member of MAPK kinase kinase (MAP3K) family in the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 MAPK pathways and comprises three family members, ASK1, ASK2, and ASK3. Accumulating evidence indicates that ASK1 controls tumorigenesis through the regulation of innate immunity and apoptosis. ASK2 also regulates tumorigenesis via apoptosis. Furthermore, analysis of the experimental lung metastasis model in mice suggests that host ASK1 deficiency attenuates tumor lung metastasis. In this symposium review, we discuss the potential roles of ASK family in the context of tumor metastasis.
Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways are evolutionarily conserved kinase modules that link extracellular signals to the machinery that controls fundamental cellular processes such as growth, proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis. The Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK MAPK pathway is one of the most studied of the mammalian MAPK pathways and has attracted intense research interest because of its critical involvement in the regulation of cell proliferation. The mutational activation of upstream signaling components that constitutively activate ERK MAPKs as seen in various primary tumor samples has validated this pathway for drug discovery. The fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe is an important tool for cancer research. This well-studied model organism has enabled groundbreaking, Nobel Prize-winning discoveries and has provided insights into how both normal and cancerous cells grow and divide. We performed chemical genetic screening using a fission yeast phenotypic assay and demonstrated that ACA-28, a synthetic derivative of 1′-acetoxychavicol acetate (ACA), effectively inhibited the growth of melanoma cancer cells wherein ERK MAPK signaling is hyperactivated due to mutations in the upstream activating regulators. Importantly, the growth of normal human epidermal melanocytes was less affected by ACA-28. In addition, ACA-28 specifically induced apoptosis in NIH/3T3 cells oncogenically transformed with HER2/ErbB2 but not in the parental cells. Notably, the ACA-28-induced apoptosis was abrogated when ERK activation was blocked with the specific MEK inhibitor U0126. Consistently, ACA-28 more strongly stimulated ERK phosphorylation in melanoma cells as compared with normal human epidermal melanocytes. ACA-28 might serve as a promising seed compound to combat ERK-dependent cancers by stimulating oncogenic signaling.
Early detection and treatment are important for the successful eradication of various cancers; therefore, the development of economical, noninvasive novel cancer screening systems is critical. Previous reports using canine scent detection have demonstrated the existence of cancer-specific odors. However, it is difficult to introduce canine scent recognition into clinical practice because of the need to maintain accuracy. In this study, we developed a Nematode-Nose (N-NOSE) test using Caenorhabditis elegans to provide a novel, highly accurate cancer detection system that is economical, painless, rapid, and convenient. We demonstrated that wild-type C. elegans displayed attractive chemotaxis toward human cancer cell secretions, cancer tissues, and urine from cancer patients but avoided control urine. In parallel, C. elegans olfactory neurons showed a significantly stronger response to urine from cancer patients than to control urine. In contrast, G protein α mutants and animals with ablated olfactory neurons were not attracted to urine from cancer patients, suggesting that they sense odors in urine. We tested 242 samples to measure the performance of the N-NOSE test and found that the sensitivity was 95.8%, which is markedly higher than that of other existing tumor markers. Furthermore, the specificity was 95.0%. Importantly, this test could detect various cancer types tested at the early stage (stage 0 or 1). C. elegans scent-based analyses therefore might provide a new strategy for the detection and study of disease-associated scents.
Although the anti-influenza virus drug oseltamivir ameliorates the fever of influenza, adverse events related to its hypothermic effect have been reported. We found that oseltamivir causes dose-dependent hypothermia in normal mice, and have been studying the pharmacological mechanisms responsible for 12 years. Oseltamivir blocks nicotinic cholinergic transmission at sympathetic ganglia and reduces sympathetic modulation of brown adipose tissue (BAT), a heat generator. Oseltamivir was found to target the ion channels of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, as demonstrated by patch clamp experiments with cells expressing the human α3β4 nicotinic receptor. Metabolized oseltamivir carboxylate, which inhibits the influenza virus neuraminidase, did not elicit hypothermia and ion channel suppression. Body temperature was decreased by intracerebroventricular administration of oseltamivir. Because this hypothermic effect was inhibited by dopamine D2 receptor blockade, it was suggested that oseltamivir centrally stimulates the D2 receptor. In Japan, the package inserts for oseltamivir and amantadine indicate very similar adverse neuropsychiatric reactions for the two drugs (abnormal behavior, consciousness disturbance, convulsion, delirium, delusion, hallucination). A literature search revealed that in some previous studies, oseltamivir and amantadine were shown to block the ion channel systems and activate the dopaminergic nervous system via several mechanisms. Therefore the similarity of the adverse reactions elicited by oseltamivir and amantadine was considered attributable to their similar pharmacological effects.
This review focuses on the anti-dementia and antidepressant-like effects of peptides including glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1, GLP-2, neuromedin U (NmU), and oxytocin, and the intranasal delivery of these peptides to the brain. Intracerebroventricularly administered GLP-1, NmU, and oxytocin improved impairment of learning and memory in mice treated with lipopolysaccharide or β-amyloid protein. GLP-1 also improved impairment of learning and memory in juvenile diabetes model rats. On the other hand, GLP-2 exhibited antidepressant-like effects in mice during the forced-swim test, which were associated with 5-HT1A, α2, β1, and D2 receptors. GLP-2 also exerted antidepressant-like effects in adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)-treated mice through restoration of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-axis and neurogenesis in the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus. Because intracerebroventricular administration is invasive and the peptides are unable to penetrate the blood-brain barrier, we introduced our new method of intranasal administration to deliver the peptides to the brain. We prepared a GLP-2 derivative containing cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) and a penetration accelerating sequence (PAS). Intranasally administered PAS-CPPs-GLP-2 was distributed throughout the brain, and exhibited antidepressant-like effects in both naive and ACTH-treated mice. The derivatives of GLP-1, NmU, and oxytocin with the PAS and CPPs were also distributed throughout the brain after intranasal administration, and improved impairment of learning and memory. We confirmed that our peptide derivatives were effectively delivered into the brain by intranasal administration. As such, these derivatives may be useful for the clinical treatment of psychiatric and neurological diseases.
Angiotensin II (Ang II) is an intrinsic peptide having strong vasopressor effects, and thus, it plays an important role in the physiological regulation of blood pressure. The vasopressor effects of Ang II include direct contraction of myocardium and vascular smooth muscles (SMs) along with aldosterone-mediated sodium retention. In addition, indirect vascular contractions induced by noradrenaline (NA), the release of which is mediated through Ang II receptor type 1 (AT1) existing at the sympathetic nerve terminals (SNTs), also contribute to the vasopressor effects of Ang II. Stimulation of NA release from SNTs by Ang II also occurs in the myocardium leading to an increase in heart rate and cardiac contraction. Furthermore, Ang II enhances the contractions of non-vascular SMs, such as vas deferens, through induction of NA release from the SNTs. We have found that Ang II attenuated vagus nerve stimulation-induced bradycardia in a losartan-sensitive manner. This suggests that Ang II attenuates vagus nerve stimulation-induced bradycardia by inhibiting acetylcholine (ACh) release from the parasympathetic nerve terminals (PNTs) through activation of the AT1 receptor. Ang II was also reported to attenuate the release of ACh from the PNTs in SMs, such as stomach and airway, thus suppressing their contractile functions. There are, however, conflicting reports of the effects of Ang II on parasympathetic nerve-mediated contractile regulation of SMs. In this review, we have highlighted the relevant research articles including our experimental reports on the regulation of sympathetic and parasympathetic nerve-mediated excitation and contraction by Ang II along with the future prospects.
It is reported that statins have inconsistent effects on glycemic status and adiponectin concentrations in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). We aimed to investigate the effect of statins on these variables in patients with T2DM and hypercholesterolemia. A control group comprising 24 patients with T2DM but without hypercholesterolemia was observed for more than 12 weeks, while 24 patients with T2DM and hypercholesterolemia were treated with statins for the same period (statin group). The percentage changes in the glycemic status [blood glucose and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c)], and levels of plasma adiponectin [total and high molecular weight (HMW)] were compared between the two groups. The statin group had reduced percentage changes in HbA1c, blood glucose, and total and HMW-adiponectin concentration percentage changes that were similar to those in the control group. However, when matched for sex, age (±5 years) and HbA1c (±0.5%) with the control group, the pravastatin group had reduced percentage changes in the plasma HMW-adiponectin concentrations than the matched controls (p=0.023). However, there were no differences in the percentage changes in the plasma total adiponectin (p=0.137), HbA1c (p=0.202), or blood glucose concentrations (p=0.450) between the two groups. Pravastatin treatment had no effect on the glycemic status of patients with T2DM and hypercholesterolemia, but may reduce the percentage changes in the plasma HMW-adiponectin concentrations. Hence, patients with T2DM and hypercholesterolemia receiving long-term treatment with pravastatin might experience increased insulin resistance.
The use of medical supply vehicles (mobile pharmacies) as a disaster measure developed after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 when a massive tsunami destroyed the medicine supply system. In the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake, mobile pharmacies were dispatched from Oita, Wakayama, and Hiroshima and contributed to medical treatment in the disaster area. In this study, we conducted an interview to structure the mental conflicts of the pharmacists supporting the disaster victims by means of the mobile pharmacies, a novel medical support tool. We conducted a semi-structured interview of 21 pharmacists. The modified grounded theory approach was used for data collection and analysis. As a result, 36 concepts and 13 categories were generated. The support pharmacists maintained mobile pharmacies as a method for cooperation among multiple occupations, and talked about further collaboration in the operation of mobile pharmacies.
In the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake, medical supply vehicles (mobile pharmacies) were dispatched from Oita, Wakayama, and Hiroshima and contributed to medical treatment in the disaster area. In this qualitative research, authors conducted a semi-structured interview of 21 pharmacists. The modified grounded theory approach was used for data collection and analysis to generate 36 concepts and 13 categories. The support pharmacists maintained mobile pharmacies as a method for cooperation among multiple occupations, and talked about further collaboration of mobile pharmacies.
Proteolysis mediated by the ubiquitin-proteome system plays an important role in cancer. Recently, a deubiquitinating enzyme, ubiquitin-specific protease 7 (USP7) has attracted attention as a key regulator of the p53-human double minute 2 (HDM2) pathway in cancer cells. Although some USP7 enzyme inhibitors have been identified, issues related to activity and selectivity prevent their therapeutic application. In this study, we aimed to search for novel USP7-HDM2 protein-protein interaction (PPI) inhibitors that do not affect the USP7 enzyme activity. Using the fragment-mapping program Fsubsite and the canonical subsite-fragment database (CSFDB) developed in our laboratory, we mapped a variety of fragments onto USP7 protein and constructed 3D-pharmacophore models based on the arrangement patterns of the mapped fragments. Finally, we performed 3D pharmacophore-based virtual screening of a commercial compound database and successfully selected promising USP7-HDM2 PPI inhibitor candidates.
The hydrolysis activity and expression level of carboxylesterase (CES) in skin were compared with liver and intestine in the same individual of beagle dog and cynomolgus monkey, and their aging effects were studied. CES1 isozymes were mainly present in skin of both animals. The dermal hydrolysis activity was about 10 and 40% of hepatic activity in beagle dog and cynomolgus monkey, respectively. In beagle dog, the hydrolysis activity and the expression level of CES isozyme in liver and skin were nearly the same between 2- and 11-year-old individuals. On the other hand, the dermal hydrolase activity was lower in young individual than in old, in contrast to slight increase of hepatic and intestinal activity in old cynomolgus monkey. These differences by aging in cynomolgus monkey were related to the expression of CES1 proteins and their mRNA. Furthermore, mRNA level of human CES was investigated using total RNA of two individuals (63 and 85 years old). The two individuals showed approximately 2-fold higher expression of hCE2 than hCE1 in human skin.