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Cudraflavone C induces tumor-specific apoptosis in colorectal cancer cells through inhibition of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)-AKT pathway

Castresana, Javier S.; Soo, Hsien-Chuen; Chung, Felicia Fei-Lei; Lim, Kuan-Hon; Yap, Veronica Alicia; Bradshaw, Tracey D.; Hii, Ling-Wei; Tan, Si-Hoey; See, Sze-Jia; Tan, Yuen-Fen; Leong, Chee-Onn; Mai, Chun-Wai


Javier S. Castresana

Hsien-Chuen Soo

Felicia Fei-Lei Chung

Kuan-Hon Lim

Veronica Alicia Yap

Tracey D. Bradshaw

Ling-Wei Hii

Si-Hoey Tan

Sze-Jia See

Yuen-Fen Tan

Chee-Onn Leong

Chun-Wai Mai


Cudraflavone C (Cud C) is a naturally-occurring flavonol with reported anti-proliferative activities. However, the mechanisms by which Cud C induced cytotoxicity have yet to be fully elucidated. Here, we investigated the effects of Cud C on cell proliferation, caspase activation andapoptosis induction in colorectal cancer cells (CRC). We show that Cud C inhibits cell proliferation in KM12, Caco-2, HT29, HCC2998, HCT116 and SW48 CRC but not in the non-transformed colorectal epithelial cells, CCD CoN 841. Cud C induces tumorselective apoptosis via mitochondrial depolarization and activation of the intrinsic caspase pathway. Gene expression profiling by microarray analyses revealed that tumor suppressor genes EGR1, HUWE1 and SMG1 were significantly up-regulated while oncogenes such as MYB1, CCNB1 and GPX2 were down-regulated following treatment with Cud C. Further analyses using Connectivity Map revealed that Cud C induced a gene signature highly similar to that of protein synthesis inhibitors and phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)-AKT inhibitors, suggesting that Cud C might inhibit PI3K-AKT signaling. A luminescent cell free PI3K lipid kinase assay revealed that Cud C significantly inhibited p110?/p85? PI3K activity, followed by p120?, p110?/p85?, and p110?/p85? PI3K activities. The inhibition by Cud C on p110?/p85? PI3K activity was comparable to LY-294002, a known PI3K inhibitor. Cud C also inhibited phosphorylation of AKT independent of NF?B activity in CRC cells, while ectopic expression of myristoylated AKT completely abrogated the anti-proliferative effects, and apoptosis induced by Cud C in CRC. These findings demonstrate that Cud C induces tumor-selective cytotoxicity by targeting the PI3K-AKT pathway. These findings provide novel insights into the mechanism of action of Cud C, and indicate that Cud C further development of Cud C derivatives as potential therapeutic agents is warranted.


Castresana, J. S., Soo, H., Chung, F. F., Lim, K., Yap, V. A., Bradshaw, T. D., …Mai, C. (2017). Cudraflavone C induces tumor-specific apoptosis in colorectal cancer cells through inhibition of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)-AKT pathway. PLoS ONE, 12(1), Article e0170551.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 6, 2017
Publication Date Jan 20, 2017
Deposit Date Mar 10, 2017
Publicly Available Date Mar 10, 2017
Journal PLoS ONE
Electronic ISSN 1932-6203
Publisher Public Library of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 1
Article Number e0170551
Public URL
Publisher URL


Plosone Wai et al 2017.pdf (2 Mb)

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