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      Plant derived substances with anti-cancer activity: from folklore to practice


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          Plants have had an essential role in the folklore of ancient cultures. In addition to the use as food and spices, plants have also been utilized as medicines for over 5000 years. It is estimated that 70–95% of the population in developing countries continues to use traditional medicines even today. A new trend, that involved the isolation of plant active compounds begun during the early nineteenth century. This trend led to the discovery of different active compounds that are derived from plants. In the last decades, more and more new materials derived from plants have been authorized and subscribed as medicines, including those with anti-cancer activity. Cancer is among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The number of new cases is expected to rise by about 70% over the next two decades. Thus, there is a real need for new efficient anti-cancer drugs with reduced side effects, and plants are a promising source for such entities. Here we focus on some plant-derived substances exhibiting anti-cancer and chemoprevention activity, their mode of action and bioavailability. These include paclitaxel, curcumin, and cannabinoids. In addition, development and use of their synthetic analogs, and those of strigolactones, are discussed. Also discussed are commercial considerations and future prospects for development of plant derived substances with anti-cancer activity.

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          Strigolactone inhibition of shoot branching.

          A carotenoid-derived hormonal signal that inhibits shoot branching in plants has long escaped identification. Strigolactones are compounds thought to be derived from carotenoids and are known to trigger the germination of parasitic plant seeds and stimulate symbiotic fungi. Here we present evidence that carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase 8 shoot branching mutants of pea are strigolactone deficient and that strigolactone application restores the wild-type branching phenotype to ccd8 mutants. Moreover, we show that other branching mutants previously characterized as lacking a response to the branching inhibition signal also lack strigolactone response, and are not deficient in strigolactones. These responses are conserved in Arabidopsis. In agreement with the expected properties of the hormonal signal, exogenous strigolactone can be transported in shoots and act at low concentrations. We suggest that endogenous strigolactones or related compounds inhibit shoot branching in plants. Furthermore, ccd8 mutants demonstrate the diverse effects of strigolactones in shoot branching, mycorrhizal symbiosis and parasitic weed interaction.
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            Inhibition of shoot branching by new terpenoid plant hormones.

            Shoot branching is a major determinant of plant architecture and is highly regulated by endogenous and environmental cues. Two classes of hormones, auxin and cytokinin, have long been known to have an important involvement in controlling shoot branching. Previous studies using a series of mutants with enhanced shoot branching suggested the existence of a third class of hormone(s) that is derived from carotenoids, but its chemical identity has been unknown. Here we show that levels of strigolactones, a group of terpenoid lactones, are significantly reduced in some of the branching mutants. Furthermore, application of strigolactones inhibits shoot branching in these mutants. Strigolactones were previously found in root exudates acting as communication chemicals with parasitic weeds and symbiotic arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Thus, we propose that strigolactones act as a new hormone class-or their biosynthetic precursors-in regulating above-ground plant architecture, and also have a function in underground communication with other neighbouring organisms.
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              Isolation, Structure, and Partial Synthesis of an Active Constituent of Hashish


                Author and article information

                Front Plant Sci
                Front Plant Sci
                Front. Plant Sci.
                Frontiers in Plant Science
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                01 October 2015
                : 6
                : 799
                Institute of Plant Sciences, Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Center , Bet Dagan, Israel
                Author notes

                Edited by: Susana Araújo, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal

                Reviewed by: Margherita I. Beruto, Istituto Regionale per la Floricoltura, Italy; Katarzyna Turnau, Jagiellonian University, Poland

                *Correspondence: Hinanit Koltai, Institute of Plant Sciences, Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Center, POB6, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel, hkoltai@ 123456agri.gov.il

                This article was submitted to Crop Science and Horticulture, a section of the journal Frontiers in Plant Science.

                Copyright © 2015 Fridlender, Kapulnik and Koltai.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                : 27 July 2015
                : 14 September 2015
                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 145, Pages: 9, Words: 8726
                Plant Science

                Plant science & Botany
                plant,active compounds,anti-cancer agents,folklore,chemoprevention
                Plant science & Botany
                plant, active compounds, anti-cancer agents, folklore, chemoprevention


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