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The natural triterpene maslinic acid induces apoptosis in HT29 colon cancer cells by a JNK-p53-dependent mechanism

Reyes-Zurita FJ, Pachón-Peña G, Lizárraga D, Rufino-Palomares EE, Cascante M, Lupiáñez JA - BMC Cancer (2011)

Bottom Line: We found that in HT29 cells maslinic acid activated the expression of c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK), thus inducing p53.Treatment of tumor cells with maslinic acid also resulted in an increase in the expression of Bid and Bax, repression of Bcl-2, release of cytochrome-c and an increase in the expression of caspases -9, -3, and -7.Further studies with other cell lines will be needed to confirm the general nature of these findings.

Affiliation: Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology I, University of Granada, 18071 Granada, Spain.

ABSTRACT

Background: Maslinic acid, a pentacyclic triterpene found in the protective wax-like coating of the leaves and fruit of Olea europaea L., is a promising agent for the prevention of colon cancer. We have shown elsewhere that maslinic acid inhibits cell proliferation to a significant extent and activates mitochondrial apoptosis in colon cancer cells. In our latest work we have investigated further this compound's apoptotic molecular mechanism.

Methods: We used HT29 adenocarcinoma cells. Changes genotoxicity were analyzed by single-cell gel electrophoresis (comet assay). The cell cycle was determined by flow cytometry. Finally, changes in protein expression were examined by western blotting. Student's t-test was used for statistical comparison.

Results: HT29 cells treated with maslinic acid showed significant increases in genotoxicity and cell-cycle arrest during the G0/G1 phase after 72 hours' treatment and an apoptotic sub-G0/G1 peak after 96 hours. Nevertheless, the molecular mechanism for this cytotoxic effect of maslinic acid has never been properly explored. We show here that the anti-tumoral activity of maslinic acid might proceed via p53-mediated apoptosis by acting upon the main signaling components that lead to an increase in p53 activity and the induction of the rest of the factors that participate in the apoptotic pathway. We found that in HT29 cells maslinic acid activated the expression of c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK), thus inducing p53. Treatment of tumor cells with maslinic acid also resulted in an increase in the expression of Bid and Bax, repression of Bcl-2, release of cytochrome-c and an increase in the expression of caspases -9, -3, and -7. Moreover, maslinic acid produced belated caspase-8 activity, thus amplifying the initial mitochondrial apoptotic signaling.

Conclusion: All these results suggest that maslinic acid induces apoptosis in human HT29 colon-cancer cells through the JNK-Bid-mediated mitochondrial apoptotic pathway via the activation of p53. Thus we propose a plausible sequential molecular mechanism for the expression of the different proteins responsible for the intrinsic mitochondrial apoptotic pathway. Further studies with other cell lines will be needed to confirm the general nature of these findings.

Schematic representation of the plausible molecular mechanism proposed for the induction of apoptosis by maslinic acid in HT29 colon-cancer cells. This molecular mechanism is regulated via the induction of JNK and p53, resulting in mitochondrial disruption, the release of cytochrome-c and finally the activation of a cascade of caspases.
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Figure 5: Schematic representation of the plausible molecular mechanism proposed for the induction of apoptosis by maslinic acid in HT29 colon-cancer cells. This molecular mechanism is regulated via the induction of JNK and p53, resulting in mitochondrial disruption, the release of cytochrome-c and finally the activation of a cascade of caspases.

Mentions: According to these results we propose the following mechanism for the apoptotic effect of MA upon HT29 colon-cancer cells (Figure 5). Initially MA induces both JNK and p53, thus provoking cell-cycle arrest and at the same time a delay in the induction of genotoxicity. Subsequently, in response to this activation of JNK and p53, the expression of the pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 proteins Bax and Bid is enhanced whilst that of Bcl-2 is inhibited. The apoptotic mitochondrial pathway is thus triggered, producing mitochondrial disruption and the activation of caspase-9, which finally leads to the activation of caspases -3, -8 and -7. Further studies inhibiting these routes in different colon-cancer cell types will be needed to confirm the proposed mechanism and justify its general validity.

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The natural triterpene maslinic acid induces apoptosis in HT29 colon cancer cells by a JNK-p53-dependent mechanism

Reyes-Zurita FJ, Pachón-Peña G, Lizárraga D, Rufino-Palomares EE, Cascante M, Lupiáñez JA - BMC Cancer (2011)

Schematic representation of the plausible molecular mechanism proposed for the induction of apoptosis by maslinic acid in HT29 colon-cancer cells. This molecular mechanism is regulated via the induction of JNK and p53, resulting in mitochondrial disruption, the release of cytochrome-c and finally the activation of a cascade of caspases.
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Figure 5: Schematic representation of the plausible molecular mechanism proposed for the induction of apoptosis by maslinic acid in HT29 colon-cancer cells. This molecular mechanism is regulated via the induction of JNK and p53, resulting in mitochondrial disruption, the release of cytochrome-c and finally the activation of a cascade of caspases.
Mentions: According to these results we propose the following mechanism for the apoptotic effect of MA upon HT29 colon-cancer cells (Figure 5). Initially MA induces both JNK and p53, thus provoking cell-cycle arrest and at the same time a delay in the induction of genotoxicity. Subsequently, in response to this activation of JNK and p53, the expression of the pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 proteins Bax and Bid is enhanced whilst that of Bcl-2 is inhibited. The apoptotic mitochondrial pathway is thus triggered, producing mitochondrial disruption and the activation of caspase-9, which finally leads to the activation of caspases -3, -8 and -7. Further studies inhibiting these routes in different colon-cancer cell types will be needed to confirm the proposed mechanism and justify its general validity.

Bottom Line: We found that in HT29 cells maslinic acid activated the expression of c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK), thus inducing p53.Treatment of tumor cells with maslinic acid also resulted in an increase in the expression of Bid and Bax, repression of Bcl-2, release of cytochrome-c and an increase in the expression of caspases -9, -3, and -7.Further studies with other cell lines will be needed to confirm the general nature of these findings.

Affiliation: Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology I, University of Granada, 18071 Granada, Spain.

ABSTRACT

Background:

Background: Maslinic acid, a pentacyclic triterpene found in the protective wax-like coating of the leaves and fruit of Olea europaea L., is a promising agent for the prevention of colon cancer. We have shown elsewhere that maslinic acid inhibits cell proliferation to a significant extent and activates mitochondrial apoptosis in colon cancer cells. In our latest work we have investigated further this compound's apoptotic molecular mechanism.

Methods: We used HT29 adenocarcinoma cells. Changes genotoxicity were analyzed by single-cell gel electrophoresis (comet assay). The cell cycle was determined by flow cytometry. Finally, changes in protein expression were examined by western blotting. Student's t-test was used for statistical comparison.

Results: HT29 cells treated with maslinic acid showed significant increases in genotoxicity and cell-cycle arrest during the G0/G1 phase after 72 hours' treatment and an apoptotic sub-G0/G1 peak after 96 hours. Nevertheless, the molecular mechanism for this cytotoxic effect of maslinic acid has never been properly explored. We show here that the anti-tumoral activity of maslinic acid might proceed via p53-mediated apoptosis by acting upon the main signaling components that lead to an increase in p53 activity and the induction of the rest of the factors that participate in the apoptotic pathway. We found that in HT29 cells maslinic acid activated the expression of c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK), thus inducing p53. Treatment of tumor cells with maslinic acid also resulted in an increase in the expression of Bid and Bax, repression of Bcl-2, release of cytochrome-c and an increase in the expression of caspases -9, -3, and -7. Moreover, maslinic acid produced belated caspase-8 activity, thus amplifying the initial mitochondrial apoptotic signaling.

Conclusion: All these results suggest that maslinic acid induces apoptosis in human HT29 colon-cancer cells through the JNK-Bid-mediated mitochondrial apoptotic pathway via the activation of p53. Thus we propose a plausible sequential molecular mechanism for the expression of the different proteins responsible for the intrinsic mitochondrial apoptotic pathway. Further studies with other cell lines will be needed to confirm the general nature of these findings.

View Similar Images In: Results  - Collection
View Article: Medline Plus - Pubmed Central - HTML -  PubMed
Show All Figures - Show MeSH
getmorefigures.php?pmc=3103477&rFormat=json&query=the&fields=all&favor=none&it=none&sp=none&sub=none&uniq=0&req=5