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      Rhabdastrellic Acid-A Induced Autophagy-Associated Cell Death through Blocking Akt Pathway in Human Cancer Cells

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          Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved protein degradation pathway. A defect in autophagy may contribute to tumorigenesis. Autophagy inducers could have a potential function in tumor prevention and treatment.

          Methodology/Principal Findings

          Our results showed that Rhabdastrellic acid-A, an isomalabaricane triterpenoid isolated from the sponge Rhabdastrella globostellata, inhibited proliferation of human cancer cell lines Hep3B and A549 and induced caspase-independent cell death in both the cell lines. Further investigation showed that Rhabdastrellic acid-A induced autophagy of cancer cells determined by YFP-LC3 punctation and increased LC3-II. The pretreatment with autophagy inhibitor 3-MA inhibited Rhabdastrellic acid-A-induced cell death. Knockdown of autophagy-related gene Atg5 inhibited Rhabdastrellic acid-A-induced cell death in A549 cells. Also, phospho-Akt and its downstream targets significantly decreased after treatment with Rhabdastrellic acid-A in both cancer cell lines. Transfection of constitutive active Akt plasmid abrogated autophagy and cell death induced by Rhabdastrellic acid-A.


          These results suggest that Rhabdastrellic acid-A could induce autophagy-associated cell death through blocking Akt pathway in cancer cells. It also provides the evidence that Rhabdastrellic acid-A deserves further investigation as a potential anticancer or cancer preventive agent.

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          Most cited references 40

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          Autophagy in the pathogenesis of disease.

          Autophagy is a lysosomal degradation pathway that is essential for survival, differentiation, development, and homeostasis. Autophagy principally serves an adaptive role to protect organisms against diverse pathologies, including infections, cancer, neurodegeneration, aging, and heart disease. However, in certain experimental disease settings, the self-cannibalistic or, paradoxically, even the prosurvival functions of autophagy may be deleterious. This Review summarizes recent advances in understanding the physiological functions of autophagy and its possible roles in the causation and prevention of human diseases.
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            LC3, a mammalian homologue of yeast Apg8p, is localized in autophagosome membranes after processing.

            Little is known about the protein constituents of autophagosome membranes in mammalian cells. Here we demonstrate that the rat microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3), a homologue of Apg8p essential for autophagy in yeast, is associated to the autophagosome membranes after processing. Two forms of LC3, called LC3-I and -II, were produced post-translationally in various cells. LC3-I is cytosolic, whereas LC3-II is membrane bound. The autophagic vacuole fraction prepared from starved rat liver was enriched with LC3-II. Immunoelectron microscopy on LC3 revealed specific labelling of autophagosome membranes in addition to the cytoplasmic labelling. LC3-II was present both inside and outside of autophagosomes. Mutational analyses suggest that LC3-I is formed by the removal of the C-terminal 22 amino acids from newly synthesized LC3, followed by the conversion of a fraction of LC3-I into LC3-II. The amount of LC3-II is correlated with the extent of autophagosome formation. LC3-II is the first mammalian protein identified that specifically associates with autophagosome membranes.
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              Autophagy: process and function.

              Autophagy is an intracellular degradation system that delivers cytoplasmic constituents to the lysosome. Despite its simplicity, recent progress has demonstrated that autophagy plays a wide variety of physiological and pathophysiological roles, which are sometimes complex. Autophagy consists of several sequential steps--sequestration, transport to lysosomes, degradation, and utilization of degradation products--and each step may exert different function. In this review, the process of autophagy is summarized, and the role of autophagy is discussed in a process-based manner.

                Author and article information

                [1 ]State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Cancer Center, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China
                [2 ]The Affiliated He Xian Memorial Hospital of Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China
                [3 ]Guangzhou Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, China
                INMI, Italy
                Author notes

                Conceived and designed the experiments: XSZ XFZ. Performed the experiments: DDL JFG JJH LLW RD. Analyzed the data: DDL JNL GKF. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: DJX SZD. Wrote the paper: DDL.

                Role: Editor
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                17 August 2010
                : 5
                : 8
                Li et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
                Pages: 10
                Research Article
                Cell Biology/Cell Signaling
                Oncology/Oncology Agents



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