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Planta Med. 2009 Oct;75(13):1423-6. doi: 10.1055/s-0029-1185805. Epub 2009 Jun 22.

The phytohormone auxin induces G1 cell-cycle arrest of human tumor cells.

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  • 1Division of Molecular Medicine, Rudjer Boskovic Institute, Zagreb, Croatia.


The plant hormone auxin is the key regulator of plant growth and development. Auxin regulates transcription of plant genes by targeting degradation of transcriptional repressor proteins Aux/IAA. While there are many reports describing its potential to modulate human cell functions, the majority are based on auxin action following enzymatic activation. A study focused on auxin alone and its antiproliferative potential, with emphasis on modulation of the cell cycle, has not been performed. Therefore, we analyzed tumor growth inhibitory effects and the cell-cycle perturbations of natural (IAA, IBA) and synthetic (NAA, 2,4-D) auxins. All derivatives showed cytostatic effects on selected human tumor cell lines. The cell-cycle analysis revealed that IAA and 2,4-D induce strong G1 arrest, along with a drastic decrease in the percentage of S-phase cells in MCF-7 cell line. This phenomenon demonstrates that auxins may have novel, unexploited antitumor potential and should be further investigated.

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