Synthesis and characterization of a small analogue of the anticancer natural product leinamycin

Kripa Keerthi, Anuruddha Rajapakse, Daekyu Sun, Kent S. Gates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Leinamycin (1) is a Streptomyces-derived natural product that displays nanomolar IC50 values against human cancer cell lines. In the work described here, we report the synthesis and characterization of a small leinamycin analogue 19 that closely resembles the 'upper-right quadrant' of the natural product, consisting of an alicyclic 1,2-dithiolan-3-one 1-oxide heterocycle connected to an alkene by a two-carbon linker. The results indicate that this small analogue contains the core set of functional groups required to enable thiol-triggered generation of both redox active polysulfides and an episulfonium ion intermediate via the complex reaction cascade first seen in the natural product leinamycin. The small leinamycin analogue 19 caused thiol-triggered oxidative DNA strand cleavage in a manner similar to the natural product, but did not alkyate duplex DNA effectively. This highlights the central role of the 18-membered macrocycle of leinamycin in driving efficient DNA alkylation by the natural product.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-241
Number of pages7
JournalBioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013


  • Antitumor agent
  • DNA alkylation
  • Natural product

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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