Send to

Choose Destination
Chem Biol Interact. 2011 Jul 15;192(3):243-56. doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2011.03.015. Epub 2011 Mar 31.

The metabolic bioactivation of caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) mediated by tyrosinase selectively inhibits glutathione S-transferase.

Author information

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Amarillo, TX 79106, USA.


Glutathione S-transferase (GST) and multidrug resistance-associated proteins (MRPs) play major roles in drug resistance in melanoma. In this study, we investigated caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) as a selective GST inhibitor in the presence of tyrosinase, which is abundant in melanoma cells. Tyrosinase bioactivates CAPE to an o-quinone, which reacts with glutathione to form CAPE-SG conjugate. Our findings indicate that 90% CAPE was metabolized by tyrosinase after a 60-min incubation. LC-MS/MS analyses identified a CAPE-SG conjugate as a major metabolite. In the presence of tyrosinase, CAPE (10-25μM) showed 70-84% GST inhibition; whereas in the absence of tyrosinase, CAPE did not inhibit GST. CAPE-SG conjugate and CAPE-quinone (25μM) demonstrated ⩾85% GST inhibition via reversible and irreversible mechanisms, respectively. Comparing with CDNB and GSH, the non-substrate CAPE acted as a weak, reversible GST inhibitor at concentrations >50μM. Furthermore, MK-571, a selective MRP inhibitor, and probenecid, a non-selective MRP inhibitor, decrease the IC(50) of CAPE (15μM) by 13% and 21%, apoptotic cell death by 3% and 13%, and mitochondrial membrane potential in human SK-MEL-28 melanoma cells by 10% and 56%, respectively. Moreover, computational docking analyses suggest that CAPE binds to the GST catalytic active site. Caffeic acid, a hydrolyzed product of CAPE, showed a similar GST inhibition in the presence of tyrosinase. Although, as controls, 4-hydroxyanisole and L-tyrosine were metabolized by tyrosinase to form quinones and glutathione conjugates, they exhibited no GST inhibition in the absence and presence of tyrosinase. In conclusion, both CAPE and caffeic acid selectively inhibited GST in the presence of tyrosinase. Our results suggest that intracellularly formed quinones and glutathione conjugates of caffeic acid and CAPE may play major roles in the selective inhibition of GST in SK-MEL-28 melanoma cells. Moreover, the inhibition of MRP enhances CAPE-induced toxicity in the SK-MEL-28 melanoma cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center