Medicinal Chemistry Research

, Volume 28, Issue 10, pp 1628–1632 | Cite as

FOXO signal activating alkaloids isolated from Ochrosia elliptica leaf cultivated in Egypt

  • Rola M. LabibEmail author
  • Fazila Zulfiqar
  • Mohamed A. Ibrahim
  • Premalatha Balachandran
  • Jin Zhang
  • Samir A. RossEmail author
Original Research


A new yohimbine type alkaloid N-methylarcinine (1), and the known alkaloid, holeinine (2), have been isolated from the methanolic leaf extract of Ochrosia elliptica grown in Egypt. The structures of the isolated metabolites were elucidated via 1D and 2D NMR data, as well as HRESIMS spectra and the spectral data were compared with the existing data available from literature. These two alkaloids are very different in activity from previously reported class type alkaloids, where they showed weak cytotoxic activity against K-562 leukemia cells while other compounds from this class were highly toxic in nature. Interestingly, holeinine (2) showed unique induction of FOXO expression, a cancer signaling pathway. FOXO is involved in the expression of death receptor ligands, such as TNF apoptosis ligand, where its activation plays a critical role in tumor suppression. As several anticancer leads targeting FOXO signaling gain more attention, this compound could be a candidate for drug development after the determination of its therapeutic efficacy and more mechanistic studies need to be evaluated.


Ochrosia elliptica Apocynaceae Yohimbine alkaloid Holeinine FOXO 



This work is partially supported by the USDA ARS Specific Cooperative Agreement No. 58-6408-2-00.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

44_2019_2399_MOESM1_ESM.docx (7.4 mb)
Supplementary Information


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of PharmacyAin Shams UniversityCairoEgypt
  2. 2.National Center for Natural Products Research, Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of PharmacyUniversity of MississippiOxfordUSA
  3. 3.Department of Chemistry of Natural CompoundsNational Research CenterCairoEgypt
  4. 4.Department of BioMolecular Sciences, School of PharmacyUniversity of MississippiOxfordUSA

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