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Design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of novel protopanoxadiol derivatives based PROTACs technology for the treatment of lung cancer

Wang, Peng; Zhu, Huajian; Liu, Jianmin; xie, Shaowen; Xu, Shengtao; Chen, Yu; Xu, Jing; Zhao, Yuqing; Zhu, Zheying; Xu, Jinyi


Peng Wang

Huajian Zhu

Jianmin Liu

Shaowen xie

Shengtao Xu

Yu Chen

Jing Xu

Yuqing Zhao

Associate Professor in International Pharmacy and Traditional Medicines

Jinyi Xu


Protopanoxadiol is a key active ingredient derived from Panax ginseng that is well-known to exhibit anti-tumor activity. Previous research focused on the natural protopanaxadiol derivative AD-1 has demonstrated that it possesses broad spectrum anti-tumor activities in vitro and in vivo. However, its limited activity, selectivity, and cell permeability have impeded its therapeutic application. Herein, a series of novel AD-1 derivatives were designed and synthesized based on proteolysis-targeting chimera (PROTAC) technology by linking AD-1 at the C-3 and C-12 positions with pomalidomide through linkers of alkyl chain of differing lengths to achieve the goal of improving the efficacy of the parent compound. Among these synthesized PROTACs, the representative compound A05 exhibited the most potent anti-proliferative activity against A549 cells. Furthermore, mechanistic studies revealed that compound A05 was able to suppress MDM2 expression, disrupt interactions between p53 and MDM2 and readily induce apoptotic death via the mitochondrial apoptosis pathway. Moreover, the in vivo assays revealed that compound A05 exhibited both anti-proliferative and anti-metastatic activities in the zebrafish tumor xenograft model with A549 cells. Together, our findings suggest that AD-1 based PROTACs associated with the degradation of MDM2 may have promising effects for the treatment of lung cancer and this work provide a foundation for future efforts to develop novel anti-tumor agents from natural products.


Wang, P., Zhu, H., Liu, J., xie, S., Xu, S., Chen, Y., …Xu, J. (2023). Design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of novel protopanoxadiol derivatives based PROTACs technology for the treatment of lung cancer. Bioorganic Chemistry, 131, Article 106327.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 13, 2022
Online Publication Date Dec 16, 2022
Publication Date 2023-02
Deposit Date Jan 3, 2023
Publicly Available Date Dec 17, 2023
Journal Bioorganic Chemistry
Print ISSN 0045-2068
Electronic ISSN 1090-2120
Publisher Elsevier BV
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 131
Article Number 106327
Keywords Organic Chemistry; Drug Discovery; Molecular Biology; Biochemistry
Public URL
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