Mbandakamine A, a unique alkaloid from an african liana

Published on August 29, 2013

The video describes the discovery of mbandakamine A, a dimeric naphthylisoquinoline alkaloid isolated from a ‘new’, botanically yet undescribed Ancistrocladus species.


This liana grows in the tropical rain forest of the Congo Basin – and has now been cultivated for the first time in the greenhouse of the Botanical Garden of Würzburg: a worldwide unique cultivation success. The absolute stereostructure of mbandakamine A was elucidated by modern spectroscopic methods like MS, NMR, and CD (circular dichroism), in part hyphenated with HPLC, and was confirmed by quantum-chemical CD calculations. Besides its novel structure and the unprecedented biosynthetic origin, mbandakamine A also shows good activity against the malaria parasite, which was determined in the SFB 630 network, involving scientists from chemical, pharmaceutical, biological, and medicinal research groups.

Bringmann Group | Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, Germany

Gerhard Bringmann is a Professor of organic chemistry, working in the field of natural products, with analytical, synthetic, computational, and pharmaceutical facets. His research topics focus on naphthylisoquinoline alkaloids, but also naphtho- and anthraquinones, and on many further classes of natural products. He is the speaker of the SFB 630 network (“Agents Against Infectious Diseases”). He maintains fruitful scientific collaborations with many groups all over the world, in particular in Africa, where he has, together with his partners, initiated an Excellence Scholarship System in the Congo (BEBUC).

Dr. Heike Bruhn is the Quality Manager of the SFB 630, where she is responsible for the optimization of the cooperations within the SFB network and the pharmacological, pharmacodynamic, and toxicological validation of the compounds according to standard operation procedures (SOPs).

Dr. Thorsten Bruhn is a scientist from theoretical chemistry in the research group of Prof. Bringmann, working in the field of computational chemistry, i.a. the quantum-chemical calculation of CD spectra.

Claudia Steinert is a PhD student in Prof. Bringmann’s group, she isolated mbandakamine A and elucidated its stereostructure together with Mr. Blaise Kimbadi Lombe, a master student and BEBUC scholar from the Congo.

Jan Wendrich is another PhD student in Prof. Bringmann’s group, he synthetically varies the structures of mbandakamine A and other naphthylisoquinoline dimers, in order to opitimize their antimalarial acitivities.

Andreas Kreiner is a gardener in the Botanical Garden of Würzburg, his long-lasting experience with the sensitive (if not capricious) Ancistrocladus plants makes him an expert in the cultivation of these lianas.


Bringmann, G.; Lombe, B.K.; Steinert, C.; Mudogo, V.; Ndjoko Ioset, K.; Brun, R.; Turini, F.; Heubl; G.; Mbandakamines A and B, Unsymmetrically Coupled Dimeric Naphthylisoquinoline Alkaloids, from a Congolese Ancistrocladus Species;, Org. Lett. 2013, 15, 2590-2593. doi: 10.1021/ol4005883

To download this video, right-click on the icon. Then, choose “Save … As…” from the menu that appears. Choose a location on your computer to download the file, and then click the “Save” button. All videos published by the Beilstein-Institut on this Web Site are licensed for use in accordance with the Creative Commons License.

Category Tag