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Oncol Rep. 2012 Dec;28(6):2049-56. doi: 10.3892/or.2012.2034. Epub 2012 Sep 17.

Anthocyanins in the black soybean (Glycine max L.) protect U2OS cells from apoptosis by inducing autophagy via the activation of adenosyl monophosphate-dependent protein kinase.

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Department of Biochemistry, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul 137-701, Republic of Korea.


Anthocyanins (ATCs) have been reported to induce apoptosis in various types of cancer cells, stimulating the development of ATCs as a cancer chemotherapeutic or chemopreventive agent. It was recently reported that ATCs can induce autophagy, however, the mechanism for this remains unclear. In the present report, we carried out mechanistic studies of the mechanism involved in ATC-induced autophagy using ATCs extracted from black soybeans (cv. Cheongja 3, Glycine max L.). ATCs clearly induced hallmarks of autophagy, including LC3 puncta formation and the conversion of LC3-I to LC3-II in U2OS human osteosarcoma cells. The induction of autophagy was accompanied by the phosphorylation of multiple protein kinases including extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), protein kinase B (AKT) and adenosyl mono-phosphate-dependent protein kinase (AMPK). While chemical inhibitors against ERK1/2, p38 MAPK, JNK and AKT failed to inhibit ATC-induced autophagy, the suppression of AMPK by compound C (CC) as well as siRNA against AMPK reduced ATC-induced autophagy. The treatment of ATCs resulted in a decrease in intracellular ATP contents and the activation of AMPK by AICAR treatment also induced autophagy. It is noteworthy that the reduction of autophagy via the inhibition of AMPK resulted in enhanced apoptosis in ATC-treated cells. In addition, siRNA against forkhead box O3A (FOXO3a), a downstream target of AMPK, suppressed ATC-induced autophagy and p27KIP1 siRNA increased apoptosis in ATC-treated cells. Collectively, it can be concluded that ATCs induce autophagy in U2OS cells via activation of the AMPK-FOXO3a pathway and protect cells from ATC-induced apoptosis via the AMPK-p27KIP1 pathway. These results also suggest that autophagy-modulating agents could contribute to the efficient development of ATCs as anticancer therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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