Natural products are a promising source for new drugs, 50% of current drugs are inspired by the chemical structure of their compounds. Structural modifications of natural product aim at improving the biological activity of the compound, by that "Precursor Directed Biosynthesis" (BDP), which is the main study of this project. Natural product targeted for structural diversification is related to oxindole alkaloids class which may be pentacyclic (AOP) or tetracyclic (AOT), accumulated in the medicinal species Uncaria tomentosa. The BDP experiments will aim to obtain new analogues of AOP and AOT by supplementing the tryptamine analogue (modification in the shikimate pathway): 2-benzofuran-3-yl-ethylamine in the culture medium of U. tomentosa shoots. Nowadays the medicinal U. tomentosa shoots are already at the Plant Biotechnology Unit of the University of Ribeirão Preto (UNAERP). Obtaining new benzofuran-derived alkaloids using precursor-directed biosynthesis in Uncaria tomentosa will allow new therapeutic options, and these can be more efficient than the natural product.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: