Litoarbolide A: an undescribed sesquiterpenoid from the Red Sea soft coral Litophyton arboreum with an in vitro anti-malarial activity evaluation

Mohammed M.A. Ahmed*, Ehab A. Ragab, Ahmed Zayed, Elsayed M. El-Ghaly, Said K. Ismail, Shabana I. Khan, Zulfiqar Ali, Amar G. Chittiboyina, Ikhlas A. Khan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Soft corals distributed across the Red Sea coasts are a rich source of diverse and bioactive natural products. Chemical probing of the Red Sea soft coral Litophyton arboreum led to isolation and structural characterization of an undescribed sesquiterpenoid, litoarbolide A (1), along with 14 previously reported metabolites (2-15). The chemical structures of the isolates were assigned based on NMR as well as high resolution electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (HR-ESI-MS) data. Litoarbolide A is supposed to be the biosynthetic precursor to other sesquiterpenoids, which formed via further post-translational modifications. Furthermore, these metabolites were evaluated for anti-malarial activity, where only the acyclic sesquiterpenoid of a sec-germacrane nucleus (7) showed an activity against chloroquine-sensitive (D6) and chloroquine-resistant (W2) strains of Plasmodium falciparum with IC50 at 3.7 and 2.2 mg/mL, respectively. Moreover, the isolated metabolites were all non-toxic to the Vero cell line. These findings support the consideration of L. arboreum in further natural anti-malarial studies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNatural Product Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • anti-malarial activity
  • Litophyton arboreum
  • sesquiterpenoid
  • Soft coral

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Plant Science
  • Organic Chemistry

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