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      Network Pharmacology and Experimental Evidence Reveal Dioscin Suppresses Proliferation, Invasion, and EMT via AKT/GSK3b/mTOR Signaling in Lung Adenocarcinoma

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          Dioscin, a natural glycoside derived from many plants, has been proved to exert anti-cancer activity. Several studies have found that it reverses TGF-β1-induced epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT). Whether dioscin can reverse EMT by pathways other than TGF-β is still unknown.


          We used network-based pharmacological methods to systematically explore the potential mechanisms by which dioscin acts on lung cancer. Cell Counting Kit-8 assay, scratch healing, Transwell assay, Matrigel invasion assay, immunofluorescence assay, and Western blotting were employed to confirm the prediction of key targets and the effects of dioscin on EMT.


          Here, using network-based pharmacological methods, we found 42 possible lung cancer-related targets of dioscin, which were assigned to 98 KEGG pathways. Among the 20 with the lowest p-values, the PI3K-AKT signaling pathway is involved and significantly related to EMT. AKT1 and mTOR, with high degrees (reflecting higher connectivity) in the compound-target analysis, participate in the PI3K-AKT signaling pathway. Molecular docking indicated the occurrence of dioscin-AKT1 and dioscin-mTOR binding. Functional experiments demonstrated that dioscin suppressed the proliferation, migration, invasion, and EMT of human lung adenocarcinoma cells in a dose-dependent manner, without TGF-β stimulation. Furthermore, we determined that dioscin downregulated p-AKT, p-mTOR and p-GSK3β in human lung adenocarcinoma cells without affecting their total protein levels. The PI3K inhibitor LY294002 augmented these changes.


          Dioscin suppressed proliferation, invasion and EMT of lung adenocarcinoma cells via the inactivation of AKT/mTOR/GSK3β signaling, probably by binding to AKT and mTOR, and inhibiting their phosphorylation.

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          Most cited references 25

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          Mammalian target of rapamycin is a direct target for protein kinase B: identification of a convergence point for opposing effects of insulin and amino-acid deficiency on protein translation.

          Growth factor induced activation of phosphoinositide 3-kinase and protein kinase B (PKB) leads to increased activity of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). This subsequently leads to increased phosphorylation of eIF4E binding protein-1 (4EBP1) and activation of p70 ribosomal S6 protein kinase (p70(S6K)), both of which are important steps in the stimulation of protein translation. The stimulation of translation is attenuated in cells deprived of amino acids and this is associated with the attenuation of 4EBP1 phosphorylation and p70(S6K) activation. It has been suggested that PKB regulates mTOR function by phosphorylation although direct phosphorylation of mTOR by PKB has not been demonstrated previously. In the present work, we have found that PKB directly phosphorylates mTOR and, using phosphospecific antibodies, we have shown this phosphorylation occurs at Ser(2448). Insulin also induces phosphorylation on Ser(2448) and this effect is blocked by wortmannin but not rapamycin, consistent with the effect being mediated by PKB. Amino-acid starvation rapidly attenuated the reactivity of the Ser(2448) phosphospecific antibody with mTOR and this could not be restored by either insulin stimulation of cells or incubation with PKB in vitro. Our findings demonstrate that mTOR is a direct target for PKB and support the conclusion that regulation of phosphorylation of Ser(2448) is a point of convergence for the counteracting regulatory effects of growth factors and amino acid levels.
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            Sonic hedgehog pathway promotes metastasis and lymphangiogenesis via activation of Akt, EMT, and MMP-9 pathway in gastric cancer.

            Activation of sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling has been implicated in progression of a variety of tumors. In this study, we elucidated a role for Shh in the invasion of gastric tumors and determined the mechanism by which Shh is regulated. Immunohistochemical analysis of 178 primary human gastric tumor biopsies indicated that Shh expression was positively correlated with lymph node metastasis, high lymphatic vessel density, and poor prognosis. In mouse xenograft models of human gastric cancer, enforced expression of Shh significantly enhanced the incidence of lung metastasis compared with nonexpressing controls. Mechanistic investigations revealed that phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt inhibition blocked Shh-induced epithelial-mesenchyme transition, the activity of matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9), and lymphangiogenesis, reducing tumor invasiveness and metastasis. Taken together, our findings establish that Shh signaling promotes the metastasis of gastric cancer through activation of the PI3K/Akt pathway, which leads to mesenchymal transition and MMP-9 activation. These findings offer preclinical validation of Shh as a candidate therapeutic target for treatment of metastatic gastric cancers. ©2011 AACR
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              Paracrine IL-6 signaling mediates the effects of pancreatic stellate cells on epithelial-mesenchymal transition via Stat3/Nrf2 pathway in pancreatic cancer cells.

              We previously showed that pancreatic stellate cells (PSC) secreted interleukin (IL)-6 and promoted pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cell proliferation via nuclear factor erythroid 2 (Nrf2)-mediated metabolic reprogramming. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a key process for the metastatic cascade. To study the mechanism of PDAC progression to metastasis, we investigated the role of PSC-secreted IL-6 in activating EMT and the involvement of Nrf2 in this process.

                Author and article information

                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                28 May 2020
                : 14
                : 2135-2147
                [1 ]Department of Pathology and Pathophysiology, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine , Guangzhou 510006, People’s Republic of China
                [2 ]Department of Medical Biotechnology, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine , Guangzhou 510006, People’s Republic of China
                [3 ]Research Center for Integrative Medicine of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine , Guangzhou 510006, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Yanli He; Ren Zhang Tel +86 20-39358015; +86 20-39358007 Fax +86 20-39358020 Email blhhh@gzucm.edu.cn; zren@gzucm.edu.cn

                These authors contributed equally to this work

                © 2020 Mao et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms ( https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php).

                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 1, References: 44, Pages: 13
                Original Research


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