Incisterols, highly degraded marine sterols, are a new chemotype of PXR agonists

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Abstract

During the chromatographic purification of organic extracts obtained from Plakortis cfr. lita we obtained three highly degraded steroid derivatives, the known incisterol A2 (1) and the new incisterols A5 (2) and A6 (3). The new compounds were characterized basing on NMR and MS evidences along with comparison with model compounds. Incisterol A5 proved to bear a 17S-ethyl-15E,18-diene (incisterol numbering system) side chain, found for the first time in a marine organism. The new incisterols A5 and A6 proved to be potent inducers of transactivation of the pregnane X receptor (PXR) and they also stimulate the expression of CYP7A4 and MDR1 with a potency comparable to that of Rifaximin. These observations prompt to consider incisterols A5 and A6 as new potent agonists of PXR. On the other hand, the 17R-methyl analogue incisterol A2 shows only a poor PXR agonist activity. Molecular docking simulations elucidated the binding mechanism of the active incisterols in the ligand binding domain of PXR.

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