Synthesis of nitrogen analogues of salacinol and their evaluation as glycosidase inhibitors

Ahmad Ghavami, Blair D. Johnston, Morten T. Jensen, Birte Svensson, B. Mario Pinto

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


The syntheses of two nitrogen analogues (11 and 12) of the naturally occurring sulfonium ion, salacinol (7) are described. The latter compound is one of the active principles in the aqueous extracts of Salacia reticulata that are traditionally used in Sri Lanka and India for the treatment of diabetes. The synthetic strategy relies on the nucleophilic attack of a 1,4-dideoxy-1,4-imino-D- or L-arabinitol at the least hindered carbon of 2,4-O-benzylidene D- or L-erythritol-1,3-cyclic sulfate. The nitrogen analogues bear a permanent positive charge and serve as mimics of the sulfonium ion. We reasoned that these ammonium derivatives should function in a manner similar to that of known glycosidase inhibitors of the alkaloid class such as castanospermine (4) and deoxynojirimycin (5). Enzyme inhibition assays indicate that salacinol (7) is a weak (K(i) = 1.7 mM) inhibitor of glucoamylase, whereas compounds 11 and 12 inhibit glucoamylase with K(i) values in the range approximately 10-fold higher. The nitrogen analogues 11 and 12 showed no significant inhibitory effect of either barley alpha-amylase (AMY1) or porcine pancreatic alpha-amylase (PPA) at concentrations of 5 mM. In contrast, salacinol (7) inhibited AMY1 and PPA in the micromolar range, with K(i) values of 15 +/- 1 and 10 +/- 2 microM, respectively.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Pages (from-to)6268-6271
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


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