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The organic extract of a marine sponge, Petrosia alfiani, selectively inhibited iron chelator-induced hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) activation in a human breast tumor T47D cell-based reporter assay. Bioassay-guided fractionation yielded seven xestoquinones (1-7) including three new compounds: 14-hydroxymethylxestoquinone (1), 15-hydroxymethylxestoquinone (2), and 14,15-dihydroxestoquinone (3). Compounds 1-7 were evaluated for their effects on HIF-1 signaling, mitochondrial respiration, and tumor cell proliferation/viability. The known metabolites adociaquinones A (5) and B (6), which possess a 3,4-dihydro-2H-1,4-thiazine-1,1-dioxide moiety, potently and selectively inhibited iron chelator-induced HIF-1 activation in T47D cells, each with an IC(50) value of 0.2 μM. Mechanistic studies revealed that adociaquinones promote oxygen consumption without affecting mitochondrial membrane potential. Compound 1 both enhances respiration and decreases mitochondrial membrane potential, suggesting that it acts as a protonophore that uncouples mitochondrial respiration.


Lin Du, Fakhri Mahdi, Sandipan Datta, Mika B Jekabsons, Yu-Dong Zhou, Dale G Nagle. Structures and mechanisms of antitumor agents: xestoquinones uncouple cellular respiration and disrupt HIF signaling in human breast tumor cells. Journal of natural products. 2012 Sep 28;75(9):1553-9

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PMID: 22938093

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