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Biochemistry

Antimicrotubule properties of benzophenanthridine alkaloids.


PMID 7902132

Abstract

Chelidonine, sanguinarine, and chelerythrine are natural benzophenanthridine alkaloids that inhibit taxol-mediated polymerization of rat brain tubulin in the micromolar range. Chelidonine is a weak, competitive inhibitor of colchicine binding to tubulin but does not inhibit podophyllotoxin binding. On the other hand, sanguinarine inhibits both colchicine and podophyllotoxin binding to tubulin with I50 values of 32 and 46 microM, respectively, and chelerythrine inhibits with I50 values of 55 and 60 microM, respectively. The inhibition by these two agents is of the mixed type. Tubulin forms an acid-reversible pseudobase with the imminium ion of sanguinarine, probably through several of its sulfhydryl groups, as shown by the loss of the yellow color of sanguinarine and its 596-nm fluorescence emission peak. Chelidonine, on the other hand, cannot undergo such pseudobase formation, and we conclude that it acts by a different mechanism. A number of previously described pharmacologic effects of these agents may be due to their inhibition of microtubule function.

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