Screening for Triterpenoid Saponins in Plants Using Hyphenated Analytical Platforms.
ABSTRACT: Recently the number of studies investigating triterpenoid saponins has drastically increased due to their diverse and potentially attractive biological activities. Currently the literature contains chemical structures of few hundreds of triterpenoid saponins of plant and animal origin. Triterpenoid saponins consist of a triterpene aglycone with one or more sugar moieties attached to it. However, due to similar physico-chemical properties, isolation and identification of a large diversity of triterpenoid saponins remain challenging. This study demonstrates a methodology to screen saponins using hyphenated analytical platforms, GC-MS, LC-MS/MS, and LC-SPE-NMR/MS, in the example of two different phenotypes of the model plant Barbarea vulgaris (winter cress), glabrous (G) and pubescent (P) type that are known to differ by their insect resistance. The proposed methodology allows for detailed comparison of saponin profiles from intact plant extracts as well as saponin aglycone profiles from hydrolysed samples. Continuously measured 1D proton NMR data during LC separation along with mass spectrometry data revealed significant differences, including contents of saponins, types of aglycones and numbers of sugar moieties attached to the aglycone. A total of 49 peaks were tentatively identified as saponins from both plants; they are derived from eight types of aglycones and with 2-5 sugar moieties. Identification of two previously known insect-deterrent saponins, hederagenin cellobioside and oleanolic acid cellobioside, demonstrated the applicability of the methodology for relatively rapid screening of bioactive compounds.
Project description:Herniaria hirsuta L. (Caryophyllaceae) is used for treatment of urinary stones and as a diuretic. Little is known about the active compounds and the mechanism of action. The phytochemical composition of H. hirsuta was comprehensively characterized using UHPLC-UV-HRMS (Ultrahigh-Performance Liquid Chromatography-Ultraviolet-High Resolution Mass Spectrometry) data. An in vitro gastrointestinal model was used to simulate biotransformation, which allowed the monitoring of the relative abundances of individual compounds over time. To analyze the longitudinal multiclass LC-MS data, XCMS, a platform that enables online metabolomics data processing and interpretation, and EDGE, a statistical method for time series data, were used to extract significant differential profiles from the raw data. An interactive Shiny app in R was used to rate the quality of the resulting features. These ratings were used to train a random forest model. The most abundant aglycone after gastrointestinal biotransformation was subjected to hepatic biotransformation using human S9 fractions. A diversity of compounds was detected, mainly saponins and flavonoids. Besides the known saponins, 15 new saponins were tentatively identified as glycosides of medicagenic acid, acetylated medicagenic acid and zanhic acid. It is suggested that metabolites of phytochemicals present in H. hirsuta, most likely saponins, are responsible for the pharmaceutical effects. It was observed that the relative abundance of saponin aglycones increased, indicating loss of sugar moieties during colonic biotransformation, with medicagenic acid as the most abundant aglycone. Hepatic biotransformation of this aglycone resulted in different metabolites formed by phase I and II reactions.
Project description:Triterpenoid saponins are specialised metabolites distributed widely in the plant kingdom that consist of one or more sugar moieties attached to triterpenoid aglycones. Despite the widely accepted view that glycosylation is catalysed by UDP-dependent glycosyltransferase (UGT), the UGT which catalyses the transfer of the conserved glucuronic acid moiety at the C-3 position of glycyrrhizin and various soyasaponins has not been determined. Here, we report that a cellulose synthase superfamily-derived glycosyltransferase (CSyGT) catalyses 3-O-glucuronosylation of triterpenoid aglycones. Gene co-expression analyses of three legume species (Glycyrrhiza uralensis, Glycine max, and Lotus japonicus) reveal the involvement of CSyGTs in saponin biosynthesis, and we characterise CSyGTs in vivo using Saccharomyces cerevisiae. CSyGT mutants of L. japonicus do not accumulate soyasaponin, but the ectopic expression of endoplasmic reticulum membrane-localised CSyGTs in a L. japonicus mutant background successfully complement soyasaponin biosynthesis. Finally, we produced glycyrrhizin de novo in yeast, paving the way for sustainable production of high-value saponins.
Project description:Sea cucumbers are prolific producers of a wide range of bioactive compounds. This study aimed to purify and characterize one class of compound, the saponins, from the viscera of the Australian sea cucumber Holothuria lessoni. The saponins were obtained by ethanolic extraction of the viscera and enriched by a liquid-liquid partition process and adsorption column chromatography. A high performance centrifugal partition chromatography (HPCPC) was applied to the saponin-enriched mixture to obtain saponins with high purity. The resultant purified saponins were profiled using MALDI-MS/MS and ESI-MS/MS which revealed the structure of isomeric saponins to contain multiple aglycones and/or sugar residues. We have elucidated the structure of five novel saponins, Holothurins D/E and Holothurinosides X/Y/Z, along with seven reported triterpene glycosides, including sulfated and non-sulfated saponins containing a range of aglycones and sugar moieties, from the viscera of H. lessoni. The abundance of novel compounds from this species holds promise for biotechnological applications.
Project description:Two natural saponins 1 and 2, isolated from Solanum indicum L., and containing 2,3-branched sugar moieties, have been efficiently synthesized. Partially protected monosaccharide and disaccharide donors were used to facilitate target synthesis. Stereo factors were critical in incorporating 2,3-branched sugars on steroid aglycones. Saponin 1 was synthesized in five steps and 30% overall yield, while saponin 2 was obtained using six straightforward sequential reactions in 31% overall yield. Saponin 2 shows promising cytotoxic activity toward human hepatocellular carcinoma BEL-7402 with an IC50 of <6 microg/mL.
Project description:Sea cucumbers, sometimes referred to as marine ginseng, produce numerous compounds with diverse functions and are potential sources of active ingredients for agricultural, nutraceutical, pharmaceutical and cosmeceutical products. We examined the viscera of an Australian sea cucumber Holothuria lessoni Massin et al. 2009, for novel bioactive compounds, with an emphasis on the triterpene glycosides, saponins. The viscera were extracted with 70% ethanol, and this extract was purified by a liquid-liquid partition process and column chromatography, followed by isobutanol extraction. The isobutanol saponin-enriched mixture was further purified by high performance centrifugal partition chromatography (HPCPC) with high purity and recovery. The resultant purified polar samples were analyzed using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS)/MS and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS)/MS to identify saponins and characterize their molecular structures. As a result, at least 39 new saponins were identified in the viscera of H. lessoni with a high structural diversity, and another 36 reported triterpene glycosides, containing different aglycones and sugar moieties. Viscera samples have provided a higher diversity and yield of compounds than observed from the body wall. The high structural diversity and novelty of saponins from H. lessoni with potential functional activities presents a great opportunity to exploit their applications for industrial, agricultural and pharmaceutical use.
Project description:Sea cucumbers produce numerous compounds with a wide range of chemical structural diversity. Among these, saponins are the most diverse and include sulfated, non-sulfated, acetylated and methylated congeners with different aglycone and sugar moieties. In this study, MALDI and ESI tandem mass spectrometry, in the positive ion mode, were used to elucidate the structure of new saponins extracted from the viscera of H. lessoni. Fragmentation of the aglycone provided structural information on the presence of the acetyl group. The presence of the O-acetyl group was confirmed by observing the mass transition of 60 u corresponding to the loss of a molecule of acetic acid. Ion fingerprints from the glycosidic cleavage provided information on the mass of the aglycone (core), and the sequence and type of monosaccharides that constitute the sugar moiety. The tandem mass spectra of the saponin precursor ions [M + Na]+ provided a wealth of detailed structural information on the glycosidic bond cleavages. As a result, and in conjunction with existing literature, we characterized the structure of five new acetylated saponins, Lessoniosides A-E, along with two non-acetylated saponins Lessoniosides F and G at m/z 1477.7, which are promising candidates for future drug development. The presented strategy allows a rapid, reliable and complete analysis of native saponins.
Project description:Saponins are widely distributed plant natural products with vast structural and functional diversity. They are typically composed of a hydrophobic aglycone, which is extensively decorated with functional groups prior to the addition of hydrophilic sugar moieties, to result in surface-active amphipathic compounds. The saponins are broadly classified as triterpenoids, steroids or steroidal glycoalkaloids, based on the aglycone structure from which they are derived. The saponins and their biosynthetic intermediates display a variety of biological activities of interest to the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food sectors. Although their relevance in industrial applications has long been recognized, their role in plants is underexplored. Recent research on modulating native pathway flux in saponin biosynthesis has demonstrated the roles of saponins and their biosynthetic intermediates in plant growth and development. Here, we review the literature on the effects of these molecules on plant physiology, which collectively implicate them in plant primary processes. The industrial uses and potential of saponins are discussed with respect to structure and activity, highlighting the undoubted value of these molecules as therapeutics.
Project description:Glycoside hydrolases (GHs) have attracted special attention in research aimed at modifying natural products by partial removal of sugar moieties to manipulate their solubility and efficacy. However, these modifications are challenging to control because the low substrate specificity of most GHs often generates undesired by-products. We previously identified a GH2-type fungal β-glucuronidase from Aspergillus oryzae (PGUS) exhibiting promiscuous substrate specificity in hydrolysis of triterpenoid saponins. Here, we present the PGUS structure, representing the first structure of a fungal β-glucuronidase, and that of an inactive PGUS mutant in complex with the native substrate glycyrrhetic acid 3-O-mono-β-glucuronide (GAMG). PGUS displayed a homotetramer structure with each monomer comprising three distinct domains: a sugar-binding, an immunoglobulin-like β-sandwich, and a TIM barrel domain. Two catalytic residues, Glu414 and Glu505, acted as acid/base and nucleophile, respectively. Structural and mutational analyses indicated that the GAMG glycan moiety is recognized by polar interactions with nine residues (Asp162, His332, Asp414, Tyr469, Tyr473, Asp505, Arg563, Asn567, and Lys569) and that the aglycone moiety is recognized by aromatic stacking and by a π interaction with the four aromatic residues Tyr469, Phe470, Trp472, and Tyr473 Finally, structure-guided mutagenesis to precisely manipulate PGUS substrate specificity in the biotransformation of glycyrrhizin into GAMG revealed that two amino acids, Ala365 and Arg563, are critical for substrate specificity. Moreover, we obtained several mutants with dramatically improved GAMG yield (>95%). Structural analysis suggested that modulating the interaction of β-glucuronidase simultaneously toward glycan and aglycone moieties is critical for tuning its substrate specificity toward triterpenoid saponins.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The dried root of Polygala tenuifolia, named Radix Polygalae, is a well-known traditional Chinese medicine. Triterpenoid saponins are some of the most important components of Radix Polygalae extracts and are widely studied because of their valuable pharmacological properties. However, the relationship between gene expression and triterpenoid saponin biosynthesis in P. tenuifolia is unclear. METHODOLOGY/FINDINGS:In this study, ultra-performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) coupled with quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (Q-TOF MS)-based metabolomic analysis was performed to identify and quantify the different chemical constituents of the roots, stems, leaves, and seeds of P. tenuifolia. A total of 22 marker compounds (VIP>1) were explored, and significant differences in all 7 triterpenoid saponins among the different tissues were found. We also observed an efficient reference gene GAPDH for different tissues in this plant and determined the expression level of some genes in the triterpenoid saponin biosynthetic pathway. Results showed that MVA pathway has more important functions in the triterpenoid saponin biosynthesis of P. tenuifolia. The expression levels of squalene synthase (SQS), squalene monooxygenase (SQE), and beta-amyrin synthase (?-AS) were highly correlated with the peak area intensity of triterpenoid saponins compared with data from UPLC/Q-TOF MS-based metabolomic analysis. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:This finding suggested that a combination of UPLC/Q-TOF MS-based metabolomics and gene expression analysis can effectively elucidate the mechanism of triterpenoid saponin biosynthesis and can provide useful information on gene discovery. These findings can serve as a reference for using the overexpression of genes encoding for SQS, SQE, and/or ?-AS to increase the triterpenoid saponin production of P. tenuifolia.
Project description:Verbesinosides A-F (1-6), six new 15,27-cyclooleanane-type triterpenoid saponins carrying different aromatic acyl moieties on the aglycon, were isolated from the leaves and flowers of Verbesina virginica. Their structures were established by interpretation of spectroscopic data and chemical methods. The representative major saponin, verbesinoside A (1), has the structure 21-trimethoxybenzoyl 15alpha,27-cycloolean-12-en-3beta,21beta-diol-28-oic acid 3-O-beta-D-xylopyranosyl(1-->4)-beta-D-xylopyranosyl(1-->2)-beta-D-glucopyranoside. This is the first report of triterpenoid saponins possessing the unique 15,27-cyclooleanane skeleton. The anisotropic effects of the aromatic acyl moieties on the triterpenoid skeleton are discussed.