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2-Oxoglutarate (2OG) and ferrous iron dependent oxygenases are involved in many biological processes in organisms ranging from humans (where some are therapeutic targets) to plants. These enzymes are of significant biomedicinal interest because of their roles in hypoxic signaling and epigenetic regulation. Synthetic N-oxalylglycine (NOG) has been identified as a broad-spectrum 2OG oxygenase inhibitor and is currently widely used in studies on the hypoxic response and chromatin modifications in animals. We report the identification of NOG as a natural product present in Rheum rhabarbarum (rhubarb) and Spinach oleracea (spinach) leaves; NOG was not observed in Escherchia coli or human embryonic kidney cells (HEK 293T). The finding presents the possibility that NOG plays a natural role in regulating gene expression by inhibiting 2OG dependent oxygenases. This has significance because tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) intermediate inhibition of 2OG dependent oxygenases has attracted major interest in cancer research.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





456 - 461


Amino acid, Inhibitor, N-oxalylglycine, Natural product, Oxygenases, Rheum rhabarbarum (rhubarb), Spinach oleracea (spinach), Alanine, Amino Acids, Dicarboxylic, Brassica, Chromatography, Liquid, Enzyme Inhibitors, Escherichia coli, HEK293 Cells, Humans, Ketoglutaric Acids, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Oxygenases, Plant Leaves, Rheum, Spinacia oleracea, Tandem Mass Spectrometry