Reactions of the melatonin metabolite N1-acetyl-5-methoxykynuramine with carbamoyl phosphate and related compounds


Address reprint requests to Rüdiger Hardeland, Johann Friedrich Blumenbach Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, University of Göttingen, Berliner Str. 28, D-37073 Göttingen, Germany.


Abstract: N-[2-(6-methoxyquinazolin-4-yl)-ethyl] acetamide (MQA) is a compound formed from the melatonin metabolite N1-acetyl-5-methoxykynuramine (AMK). We followed MQA production in reaction systems containing various putative reaction partners, in the absence and presence of hydrogen peroxide and/or copper(II). Although MQA may be formally described as a condensation product of either N1-acetyl-N2-formyl-5-methoxykynuramine (AFMK) with ammonia, or AMK with formamide, none of these combinations led to substantial quantities of MQA. However, MQA formation was observed in mixtures containing AMK, hydrogen peroxide, hydrogen carbonate and ammonia, or AMK, hydrogen peroxide, copper(II) and potentially carbamoylating agents, such as potassium cyanate or, more efficiently, carbamoyl phosphate. In the presence of hydrogen peroxide, copper(II) and carbamoyl phosphate, MQA was the major product obtained from AMK, but the omission of copper(II) mainly led to another metabolite, 3-acetamidomethyl-6-methoxycinnolinone (AMMC). This was caused by nitric oxide (NO) generated under oxidative conditions from carbamoyl phosphate, as shown by an NO spin trap. MQA formation with carbamoyl phosphate was not due to the possible decomposition product, formamide. The reaction of AMK with carbamoyl phosphate under oxidative conditions, in which inorganic phosphate and water are released and which differs from the typical process of carbamoylation via isocyanate, may be considered as a new physiological route of MQA formation.