Compounds found in the Rainforest Tree are neuroactive

Compounds found in the Rainforest Tree are neuroactive ...

Thanks to fresh research from Scripps Research, a potential cornucopia of neuroactive compounds has become more accessible to synthetic chemists.

The research, which was published on March 17, 2022, focuses on compounds found in the rainforest treeGalbulimima belgraveana, which is native to Papua New Guinea, tropical northern Australia, and Malaysia.

Potions made from the bark of these trees have long been thought to have hallucinogenic and other neuroactive consequences, but the exact compounds involved, as well as their biological targets, have largely been a mystery. The Scripps Research chemists developed a novel, straightforward, and effective approach for synthesizing many of these compounds.

We are really interested in learning how theseGalbulimimacompounds affect the brain, and we hope to obtain useful new therapeutics from them. Now, with this improved approach to making these molecules, we can begin to do just that, according to Rian Shenvi, PhD, the professor of chemistry at Scripps Research.

Eleanor Landwehr, Meghan Baker, and Takuya Oguma, both co-authors of the study, worked in the Shenvi lab during the study.

In surveys by Smith, Kline & French, and the Australian national research organization CSIRO, the high structural complexity of these compounds, their variable mix withinGalbulimimabark, and the difficulty of finding bark in quantity, have erroneously prevented their close collaboration. Indeed, chemists had devised a concise and practical synthesis for only one of these compounds, hisbacine.

Shenvi and his team targeted himgaline, a non-spasmodic substance, which, like himbacine, is likely to perform differently. While the new technique used only seven steps, thus allowing easy synthesis at the scale required to study the compound in depth.

Shenvi believes the new approach is more effective in part because it starts with a broad approach to himgaline''s chemical environment, making certain compounds/connections relatively easily from there. The researchers conducted experiments of himgaline and two otherGalbulimimacompounds, GB22 and GB13.

We first try to get to the target star system, so to speak, and from there it''s quite simple to reach specific planets within that system, according to Shenvi.

Shenvi and his team are now working on his own biochemistry, including studying himgaline, GB22, and GB13, as well as using their broad synthesis strategy to make and study otherGalbulimimacompounds.

You may also like: