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Chemical investigations into the biosynthesis of the gymnastatin and dankastatin alkaloids


Electrophilic natural products have provided fertile ground for understanding how nature inhibits protein function using covalent bond formation. The fungal strain Gymnascella dankaliensis has provided an especially interesting collection of halogenated cytotoxic agents derived from tyrosine which feature an array of reactive functional groups. Herein we explore chemical and potentially biosynthetic relationships between architecturally complex gymnastatin and dankastatin members, finding conditions that favor formation of a given scaffold from a common intermediate. Additionally, we find that multiple natural products can also be formed from aranorosin, a non-halogenated natural product also produced by Gymnascella sp. fungi, using simple chloride salts thus offering an alternative hypothesis for the origins of these compounds in nature. Finally, growth inhibitory activity of multiple members against human triple negative breast cancer cells is reported.

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