The medicinal herb parasitic loranthus in a screen was found to inhibit fatty acid synthase (EC 18.104.22.168, FAS) and reduce body weight of rats in our previous study. Now we have determined the inhibitory characteristics and kinetic parameters of extracts of parasitic loranthus [Taxillus chinensis (DC.) Danser]. The parasitic loranthus extracts (PLE) inhibits FAS reversibly and irreversibly and with an IC50 value of 0.48 microg/ml, appears to be the most potent inhibitor reported to date. PLE contains various potent inhibitors and may react with different sites on FAS. The irreversible inhibition exhibits a time-dependent biphasic process including a speedy fast-phase during the initial several minutes. The fast-phase inhibition seems to be caused by some potent but low-concentration component(s) in the extracts. In addition, we have found that avicularin existing in this herb can potently inhibit FAS. This glycosylated flavonoid and quercetin play an effective role in inhibiting FAS by parasitic loranthus.
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