Study on Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of 3-Aryl Substituted Xanthone Derivatives as Novel and Potent Tyrosinase Inhibitors

Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2019 Nov 1;67(11):1232-1241. doi: 10.1248/cpb.c19-00572. Epub 2019 Sep 6.


Tyrosinase plays a key role in the melanin biosynthesis since it catalyzes the transformation of tyrosine into L-dopaquinone. A large number of studies have also shown that molecules to efficiently inhibit the activity of tyrosinase would be potentially used in treating many depigmentation-related disorders. In this study, we targeted a series of structure-based 3-aryl substituted xanthone derivatives in which diverse functional groups were respectively attached on 3-aromatic ring moiety as new tyrosinase inhibitors. The results demonstrated that all obtained compounds had potent tyrosinase inhibitory activities with IC50 values at micromolar range. Especially, compound 4t was found to be the most active tyrosinase inhibitor with the IC50 value of 11.3 µM, uncovering that the introduction of the proper hydroxyl group in the 3-aromatic ring was beneficial for enhancing the inhibitory potency against tyrosinase. Moreover, the inhibition mechanism and inhibition kinetics studies revealed that compound 4t presented such inhibitory effect by acting as the reversible and competitive-uncompetitive mixed-II type inhibitor. Further molecular docking simulation showed that 3-aromatic ring of compound 4t was inserted into the narrow regions of binuclear copper-binding site at the bottom of the enzyme binding pocket, while the xanthone skeleton was positioned at the surface of tyrosinase. Taken together, these data suggested that such type of molecules might be utilized for the development of new and promising candidate for the treatment of depigmentation-related disorders.

Keywords: inhibition mechanism; synthesis; tyrosinase inhibitor; xanthone derivative.

MeSH terms

  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / chemical synthesis
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Structure
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase / metabolism
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Xanthones / chemical synthesis
  • Xanthones / chemistry
  • Xanthones / pharmacology*


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Xanthones
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase