• Neferine induces autophagy-dependent cell death in apoptosis-resistant cancers via ryanodine receptor and Ca

      Law, Betty Yuen Kwan; Michelangeli, Francesco; Qu, Yuan Qing; orcid: 0000-0003-3733-3661; Xu, Su-Wei; Han, Yu; Mok, Simon Wing Fai; Dias, Ivo Ricardo De Seabra Rodrigues; Javed, Masood-Ul-Hassan; Chan, Wai-Kit; Xue, Wei-Wei; et al. (2019-12-27)
      Resistance of cancer cells to chemotherapy is a significant clinical concern and mechanisms regulating cell death in cancer therapy, including apoptosis, autophagy or necrosis, have been extensively investigated over the last decade. Accordingly, the identification of medicinal compounds against chemoresistant cancer cells via new mechanism of action is highly desired. Autophagy is important in inducing cell death or survival in cancer therapy. Recently, novel autophagy activators isolated from natural products were shown to induce autophagic cell death in apoptosis-resistant cancer cells in a calcium-dependent manner. Therefore, enhancement of autophagy may serve as additional therapeutic strategy against these resistant cancers. By computational docking analysis, biochemical assays, and advanced live-cell imaging, we identified that neferine, a natural alkaloid from Nelumbo nucifera, induces autophagy by activating the ryanodine receptor and calcium release. With well-known apoptotic agents, such as staurosporine, taxol, doxorubicin, cisplatin and etoposide, utilized as controls, neferine was shown to induce autophagic cell death in a panel of cancer cells, including apoptosis-defective and -resistant cancer cells or isogenic cancer cells, via calcium mobilization through the activation of ryanodine receptor and Ulk-1-PERK and AMPK-mTOR signaling cascades. Taken together, this study provides insights into the cytotoxic mechanism of neferine-induced autophagy through ryanodine receptor activation in resistant cancers.
    • (Z)3,4,5,4'-trans-tetramethoxystilbene, a new analogue of resveratrol, inhibits gefitinb-resistant non-small cell lung cancer via selectively elevating intracellular calcium level.

      Fan, Xing-Xing; Yao, Xiao-Jun; Xu, Su-Wei; Wong, Vincent K-W.; He, Jian-Xing; Ding, Jian; Xue, Wei-Wei; Mujtaba, Tahira; Michelangeli, Francesco; Huang, Min; et al. (Nature Publishing Group, 2015-11-06)
      Calcium is a second messenger which is required for regulation of many cellular processes. However, excessive elevation or prolonged activation of calcium signaling would lead to cell death. As such, selectively regulating calcium signaling could be an alternative approach for anti-cancer therapy. Recently, we have identified an effective analogue of resveratrol, (Z)3,4,5,4′-trans-tetramethoxystilbene (TMS) which selectively elevated the intracellular calcium level in gefitinib-resistant (G-R) non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells. TMS exhibited significant inhibitory effect on G-R NSCLC cells, but not other NSCLC cells and normal lung epithelial cells. The phosphorylation and activation of EGFR were inhibited by TMS in G-R cells. TMS induced caspase-independent apoptosis and autophagy by directly binding to SERCA and causing endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and AMPK activation. Proteomics analysis also further confirmed that mTOR pathway, which is the downstream of AMPK, was significantly suppressed by TMS. JNK, the cross-linker of ER stress and mTOR pathway was significantly activated by TMS. In addition, the inhibition of JNK activation can partially block the effect of TMS. Taken together, TMS showed promising anti-cancer activity by mediating calcium signaling pathway and inducing apoptosis as well as autophagy in G-R NSCLC cells, providing strategy in designing multi-targeting drug for treating G-R patients.