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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 53  |  Page : 116-123

Cordyceps militaris Fraction induces apoptosis and G2/M Arrest via c-Jun N-Terminal kinase signaling pathway in oral squamous carcinoma KB Cells


1 Department of Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy, Jinan University, China
2 Biotechnological Institute of Chinese Materia Medica, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China
3 Department of Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy, Jinan University; Biotechnological Institute of Chinese Materia Medica, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China

Correspondence Address:
Liyan Song
Department of Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632
China
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/pm.pm_63_17

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Background: Cordyceps militaris fraction (CMF) has been shown to possess in vitro antitumor activity against human chronic myeloid leukemia K562 cells in our previous research. Materials and Methods: The in vitro inhibitory activities of CMF on the growth of KB cells were evaluated by viability assay. The apoptotic and cell cycle influences of CMF were detected by 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole staining and flow cytometry assay. The expression of different apoptosis-associated proteins and cell cycle regulatory proteins was examined by Western blot assay. The nuclear localization of c-Jun was observed by fluorescence staining. Objective: The objective of this study was to investigate the antiproliferative effect of CMF as well as the mechanism underlying the apoptosis and cell cycle arrest it induces in KB cells. Results: CMF suppressed KB cells' proliferation in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Flow cytometric analysis indicated that CMF induced G2/M cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Western blot analysis revealed that CMF induced caspase-3, caspase-9, and PARP cleavages, and increased the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio. CMF also led to increased expression of p21, decreased expression of cyclin B1, mitotic phosphatase cdc25c, and mitotic kinase cdc2, as well as unchanged expression of p53. In addition, CMF stimulated c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNK) protein phosphorylations, resulting in upregulated expression of c-Jun and nuclear localization of c-Jun. Pretreatment with JNK inhibitor SP600125 suppressed CMF-induced apoptosis and G2/M arrest. Conclusions: CMF is capable of modulating c-Jun caspase and Bcl-2 family proteins through JNK-dependent apoptosis, which results in G2/M phase arrest in KB cells. CMF could be developed as a promising candidate for the new antitumor agents. Abbreviations used: CMF: Cordyceps militaris fraction; OSCC: Oral squamous cell carcinoma; JNK: c-Jun N-terminal kinase.


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