Tyrosinase is the first and rate limiting enzyme in the synthesis of melanin pigments for coloring hair, skin, and eyes. As reported in this study, a natural product, (-)-N-formylanonaine isolated from the leaves of Michelia alba D.C. (Magnolianceae), was found to inhibit mushroom tyrosinase with an IC 50 of 74.3 μM and to have tyrosinase and melanin reducing activities in human epidermal melanocytes without apparent cytotoxicity to human cells, superior to the known tyrosinase inhibitors, such as kojic acid and 1-phenyl-2-thiourea (PTU). Based on homology modeling, the compound binds the active site by coordinating with two Cu 2+ ions. In addition, the compound had antioxidation activities in tests for scavenging 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), reducing power, and chelating metal ions. To our knowledge, this is the first study to reveal the bioactivities of (-)-N-formylanonaine from this plant species.
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