Bioactive pyridine-N-oxide disulfides from Allium stipitatum

Gemma O'Donnell, Rosemarie Poeschl, Oren Zimhony, Mekala Gunaratnam, Joao B. C. Moreira, Stephen Neidle, Dimitrios Evangelopoulos, Sanjib Bhakta, John P. Malkinson, Helena I. Boshoff, Anne Lenaerts, Simon Gibbons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)


From Allium stipitatum, three pyridine-N-oxide alkaloids (1-3) possessing disulfide functional groups were isolated. The structures of these natural products were elucidated by spectroscopic means as 2-(methyldithio)pyridine-N- oxide (1), 2-[(methylthiomethyl)dithio]pyridine-N-oxide (2), and 2,2′-dithio-bis-pyridine-N-oxide (3). The proposed structure of 1 was confirmed by synthetic S-methylthiolation of commercial 2-thiopyridine-N-oxide. Compounds 1 and 2 are new natural products, and 3 is reported for the first time from an Allium species. All compounds were evaluated for activity against fast-growing species of Mycobacterium, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and a multidrug-resistant (MDR) variants of S. aureus. Compounds 1 and 2 exhibited minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of 0.5-8 μg/ mL against these strains. A small series of analogues of 1 were synthesized in an attempt to optimize antibacterial activity, although the natural product had the most potent in vitro activity. In a whole-cell assay at 30 μg/mL, 1 was shown to give complete inhibition of the incorporation of 14C-labeled acetate into soluble fatty acids, indicating that it is potentially an inhibitor of fatty acid biosynthesis. In a human cancer cell line antiproliferative assay, 1 and 2 displayed IC 50 values ranging from 0.3 to 1.8 μM with a selectivity index of 2.3 when compared to a human somatic cell line. Compound 1 was evaluated in a microarray analysis that indicated a similar mode of action to menadione and 8-quinolinol by interfering with the thioredoxin system and up-regulating the production of various heat shock proteins. This compound was also assessed in a mouse model for in vivo toxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-365
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Natural Products
Issue number3
Early online date18 Dec 2008
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2009

Cite this