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Molecular Docking Studies of Royleanone Diterpenoids from Plectranthus spp. as P-Glycoprotein Inhibitors

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)839-845
Number of pages7
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2020
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


The development of multidrug resistance (MDR) is a major cause of failure in cancer chemotherapy. Several abietane diterpenes with antitumoral activities have been isolated from Plectranthus spp. such as 6,7-dehydroroyleanone (DHR, 1) and 7α-acetoxy-6β-hydroxyroyleanone (AHR, 2). Several royleanone derivatives were prepared through hemisynthesis from natural compounds 1 and 2 to achieve a small library of products with enhanced anti-P-glycoprotein activity. Nonetheless, some derivatives tend to be unstable. Therefore, to reason such lack of stability, the electron density based local reactivity descriptors condensed Fukui functions and dual descriptor were calculated for several derivatives of DHR. Additionally, molecular docking and molecular dynamics studies were performed on several other derivatives to clarify the molecular mechanisms by which they may exert their inhibitory effect in P-gp activity. The analysis on local reactivity descriptors was important to understand possible degradation pathways and to guide further synthetic approaches toward new royleanone derivatives. A molecular docking study suggested that the presence of aromatic moieties increases the binding affinity of royleanone derivatives toward P-gp. It further suggests that one royleanone benzoylated derivative may act as a noncompetitive efflux modulator when bound to the M-site. The future generation of novel royleanone derivatives will involve (i) a selective modification of position C-12 with chemical moieties smaller than unsubstituted benzoyl rings and (ii) the modification of the substitution pattern of the benzoyloxy moiety at position C-6.


  • molecular docking, molecular dynamics, Multidrug resistance, P-gp inhibition, Plectranthus, royleanone derivatives

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland