Cyclovirobuxine D Induces Autophagy-Associated Cell Death via the Akt/mTOR Pathway in MCF-7 Human Breast Cancer Cells.

Journal of pharmacological sciences

PubMedID: 24758922

Lu J, Sun D, Gao S, Gao Y, Ye J, Liu P. Cyclovirobuxine D Induces Autophagy-Associated Cell Death via the Akt/mTOR Pathway in MCF-7 Human Breast Cancer Cells. J Pharmacol Sci. 2014;.
Autophagy is a highly regulated and multi-step biological process that serves to remove damaged cytoplasmic components and organelles. It has been suggested that the activation of autophagy may be a promising therapeutic strategy for cancer treatment by triggering cell death. In this study, we reported that cyclovirobuxine D (CVB-D), an alkaloid component in a traditional Chinese herb, could induce autophagy in the MCF-7 human breast cancer cell line. CVB-D inhibited the viability of MCF-7 cells in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. Activation of autophagy was characterized by transmission electron microscopy, monodansylcadaverine staining, and expression of autophagy marker microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3). After CVB-D treatment, a clear accumulation of autophagosomes was observed accompanied with elevated LC3 fluorescent puncta. Western blot analysis revealed that CVB-D significantly promoted the conversion from LC3-I to LC3-II and the expression of autophagy-related protein 5 (ATG5), which are both essential for autophagosome formation. On the other hand, CVB-D-induced autophagy and decrease in cell viability could be blocked by 3-methyladenine, a well-established autophagy inhibitor. Moreover, CVB-D attenuated the phosphorylation of Akt and mTOR, two pivotal suppressors in autophagy pathways. These findings shed new light on the pharmacological actions and mechanism of CVB-D and may support the potential utility of autophagy inducers in cancer treatment.