Novel phenalenone derivatives from a marine-derived fungus exhibit distinct inhibition spectra against eukaryotic DNA polymerases.


A number of compounds used for cancer chemotherapy exert their effects by inhibiting DNA replication. New inhibitors of DNA polymerases, therefore, could be potential candidates for new anti-cancer drugs. This study tested the effects of two phenalenone-skeleton-based compounds, which were isolated from a marine-derived fungus Penicillium sp., sculezonone-B (SCUL-B) and sculezonone-A (SCUL-A), upon DNA polymerase activity. Both compounds inhibited bovine DNA polymerases alpha and gamma, moderately affected the activity of DNA polymerase epsilon, and had almost no effect on HIV-reverse transcriptase and an E. coli DNA polymerase I Klenow fragment. Most notably, whereas SCUL-A inhibited pol beta (IC(50) = 17 microM), SCUL-B has only a weak influence upon this polymerase (IC(50) = 90 microM). Kinetic studies showed that inhibition of both DNA polymerases alpha and beta by either SCUL-A or SCUL-B was competitive with respect to dTTP substrate and noncompetitive with the template-primer. Whereas pol alpha inhibition by SCUL-B is competitive with respect to dATP, the inhibition by SCUL-A was found to be a mixed type with dATP substrate. The K(i) values of SCUL-B were calculated to be 1.8 and 6.8 microM for DNA polymerases alpha and gamma, respectively. The K(i) of DNA polymerase beta for SCUL-A was 12 microM and that for DNA polymerase alpha, 16 microM. Therefore, deletion of the OH-group at C12 enhanced inhibition of DNA polymerase beta. Since computational analyses of these two inhibitors revealed a remarkable difference in the distribution of negative electrostatic charge on the surface of molecules, we infer that different electrostatic charges might elicit different inhibition spectra from these two compounds.




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