Discovery and combinatorial synthesis of fungal metabolites beauveriolides, novel antiatherosclerotic agents

Hiroshi Tomoda, Takayuki Doi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


(Figure Presented) For discovery of a new type of antiatherosclerotic agents, a cell-based assay of lipid droplet accumulation using primary mouse peritoneal macrophages was conducted as a model of macrophage-derived foam cell accumulation, which occurs in the early stage of atherosclerogenesis. During the screening of microbial metabolites for inhibitors of lipid droplet accumulation, 13-membered cyclodepsipeptides, known beauveriolide I and new beauveriolide III, were isolated from the culture broth of fungal Beauveria sp. FO-6979, a soil isolate, by solvent extraction, ODS column chromatography, silica gel column chromatography, and preparative HPLC. The structure including the absolute stereochemistry of beauveriolide III was elucidated as cyclo-[(3S,4S)-3-hydroxy-4-methyloctanoyl-L-phenylalanyl-L-alanyl-D- alloisoleucyl] by spectral analyses, amino acid analyses, and synthetic methods. Furthermore, the absolute stereochemistry was confirmed by the total synthesis of beauveriolides. Study on the mechanism of action revealed that beauveriolides inhibited macrophage acyl-CoA:cholesterol acyltransferase (ACAT) activity to block the synthesis of cholesteryl ester (CE), leading to a reduction of lipid droplets in macrophages. There are two ACAT isozymes in mammals, ACAT1 and ACAT2. ACAT1 is ubiquitously expressed in most tissues and cells including macrophages, while ACAT2 is expressed predominantly in the liver (hepatocytes) and the intestine (enterocytes). Interestingly, beauveriolides inhibited both ACAT1 and ACAT2 to a similar extent in an enzyme assay that utilized microsomes but inhibited ACAT1 selectively in intact cell-based assays. Beauveriolides proved orally active in both low-density lipoprotein receptor and apolipoprotein E knockout mice, reducing the atheroma lesion of heart and aorta without any side effects such as diarrhea or cytotoxicity to adrenal tissues as observed for many synthetic ACAT inhibitors. To obtain more potent inhibitors, a focused library of beauveriolide analogues was prepared by combinatorial chemistry in which solid-phase assembly of linear depsipeptides was carried out using a 2-chlorotrityl linker, followed by solution-phase cyclization, yielding 104 beauveriolide analogues. Among them, diphenyl derivatives were found to show 10 times more potent inhibition of CE synthesis in macrophages than beauveriolide III. Furthermore, most analogues showed selective ACAT1 inhibition or inhibition of both ACAT1 and ACAT2, but interestingly certain analogues gave selective ACAT2 inhibition. These data indicated that subtle structural differences of the inhibitors could discriminate the active sites of the ACAT1 and ACAT2 isozymes. Efforts of further analogue synthesis would make it possible to obtain highly selective ACAT1/ACAT2 inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-39
Number of pages8
JournalAccounts of Chemical Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)


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