Screening and Biological Effects of Marine Pyrroloiminoquinone Alkaloids: Potential Inhibitors of the HIF-1α/p300 Interaction

Andrew K.L. Goey, Cindy H. Chau, Tristan M. Sissung, Kristina M. Cook, David J. Venzon, Amaya Castro, Tanya R. Ransom, Curtis J. Henrich, Tawnya C. McKee, James B. McMahon, Tanja Grkovic, Melissa M. Cadelis, Brent R. Copp, Kirk R. Gustafson, William D. Figg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Inhibition of the hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) pathway by disrupting its association with the transcriptional coactivator p300 inhibits angiogenesis and tumor development. Development of HIF-1α/p300 inhibitors has been hampered by preclinical toxicity; therefore, we aimed to identify novel HIF-1α/p300 inhibitors. Using a cell-free assay designed to test compounds that block HIF-1α/p300 binding, 170298 crude natural product extracts and prefractionated samples were screened, identifying 25 active extracts. One of these extracts, originating from the marine sponge Latrunculia sp., afforded six pyrroloiminoquinone alkaloids that were identified as positive hits (IC50 values: 1-35 μM). Luciferase assays confirmed inhibition of HIF-1α transcriptional activity by discorhabdin B (1) and its dimer (2), 3-dihydrodiscorhabdin C (3), makaluvamine F (5), discorhabdin H (8), discorhabdin L (9), and discorhabdin W (11) in HCT 116 colon cancer cells (0.1-10 μM, p < 0.05). Except for 11, all of these compounds also reduced HIF-1α transcriptional activity in LNCaP prostate cancer cells (0.1-10 μM, p < 0.05). These effects occurred at noncytotoxic concentrations (<50% cell death) under hypoxic conditions. At the downstream HIF-1α target level, compound 8 (0.5 μM) significantly decreased VEGF secretion in LNCaP cells (p < 0.05). In COLO 205 colon cancer cells no activity was shown in the luciferase or cytotoxicity assays. Pyrroloiminoquinone alkaloids are a novel class of HIF-1α inhibitors, which interrupt the protein-protein interaction between HIF-1α and p300 and consequently reduce HIF-related transcription.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1267-1275
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Natural Products
Issue number5
StatePublished - 27 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


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