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Life Sci. 1997;60(19):1635-41.

L-canaline: a potent antimetabolite and anti-cancer agent from leguminous plants.

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  • 1Laboratory of Biochemical Ecology, University of Kentucky, Lexington 40506, USA.


L-Canaline, the L-2-amino-4-(aminooxy)butyric acid structural analog of L-ornithine' is a powerful antimetabolite stored in many leguminous plants. This nonprotein amino acid reacts vigorously with the pyridoxal phosphate moiety of vitamin B6-containing enzymes to form a covalently-bound oxime that inactivates, often irreversibly, the enzyme. Canaline is not only capable of inhibiting ornithine-dependent enzymic activity, but it also can function as a lysine antagonist. Recently, this natural product was found to possess significant antineoplastic in vitro activity against human pancreatic cancer cells.

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