Cytotoxic and other metabolites of Aspergillus inhabiting the rhizosphere of sonoran desert plants

Jian He, E. M.Kithsiri Wijeratne, Bharat P. Bashyal, Jixun Zhan, Christopher J. Seliga, Manping X. Liu, Elizabeth E. Pierson, Leland S. Pierson, Hans D. VanEtten, A. A.Leslie Gunatilaka

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126 Scopus citations


In a study to discover potential anticancer agents from rhizosphere fungi of Sonoran desert plants cytotoxic EtOAc extracts of four Aspergillus strains have been investigated. Two new metabolites, terrequinone A (1) and terrefuranone (2), along with Nα-acetyl aszonalemin (LL-S490β) (3) were isolated from As. terreus occurring in the rhizosphere of Ambrosia ambrosoides, whereas As. terreus inhabiting the rhizosphere of an unidentified Brickellia sp. afforded dehydrocurvularin (4), 11-methoxycurvularin (5), and 11-hydroxycurvularin (6). As. cervinus isolated from the rhizosphere of Anicasanthus thurberi contained two new compounds, 4R*,5S*- dihydroxy-3-methoxy-5-methylcyclohex-2-enone (7) and 6-methoxy-5(6)- dihydropenicillic acid (8), in addition to penicillic acid (9). Penicillic acid was also isolated from As. wentii occurring in the rhizosphere of Larrea tridentata. The structures of 1-9 were elucidated by spectroscopic methods and chemical derivatizations. Acetylation of 2 afforded 14-acetylterrefuranone (13) and 14-deoxy-13(14)-dehydroterrefuranone (14). Metabolites 1-9, the dienone 14, and 5(6)-dihydropenicillic acid (16) were evaluated for cytotoxicity in a panel of four human cancer cell lines and in normal human primary fibroblast cells. Compounds 4 and 5 displayed considerable cytotoxicity, whereas 1, 6, 9, and 14 were found to be moderately active, with 6 and 9 exhibiting selective cytotoxicity against cancer cell lines compared with the normal fibroblast cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1985-1991
Number of pages7
JournalJournal Of Natural Products
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Organic Chemistry


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