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Phytomedicine. 2008 Oct;15(10):867-75. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2008.02.025. Epub 2008 Apr 22.

A mannose-binding lectin from Sophora flavescens induces apoptosis in HeLa cells.

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  • 1College of Life Sciences, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610064, China.


The objective of this study was to investigate the anti-tumor activity of a lectin from Sophora flavescens and explore its potential apoptotic induction mechanism. Here, an elegant series of biochemical and cell biology methods were carried out in a sequential procedure (e.g., MTT, cell morphologic changes and LDH assays, DNA ladder as well as flow cytometric assay). As a result, we found that this lectin shows a strong cytotoxicity against HeLa cells and induces apoptosis in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Subsequently, according to caspase inhibition and Western blot analysis, we further demonstrated that it is a typical caspase-dependent apoptotic mechanism. Furthermore, we also exerted some bioinformatics methods to identify the mannose-binding specificity of this lectin. In conclusion, all experimental results demonstrated that this lectin seems to be a potent anti-tumor agent for its cytotoxicity and apoptosis effects on HeLa cells. Also, bioinformatics analyses showed that this lectin is speculated to bind a certain mannose-containing receptor on cancer cell surface thereby initiating downstream caspase cascade.

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