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Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2014;15(2):963-7.

Asiatic acid promotes p21(WAF1/CIP1) protein stability through attenuation of NDR1/2 dependent phosphorylation of p21(WAF1/ CIP1) in HepG2 human hepatoma cells.

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Department of General Surgery, Zhujiang Hospital of Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China E-mail :


Previous studies have suggested anti-tumor effects of asiatic acid in some human cancer cell lines. This agent is reported to increase the levels of p21WAF1/CIP1 in human breast cancer cell lines. However, the molecular mechanisms have not been established. Here we report that asiatic acid up-regulates p21WAF1/CIP1 protein expression but not the level of p21WAF1/CIP1 mRNA in HepG2 human hepatoma cells. Furthermore, we found that the asiatic acid induced increase of p21WAF1/CIP1 protein was associated with decreased phosphorylation (ser-146) of p21WAF1/CIP1. Knockdown of NDR1/2 kinase, which directly phosphorylates p21WAF1/CIP1 protein at ser-146 and enhances its proteasomal degradation, increased the levels of p21WAF1/CIP1 protein and eliminated the regulation of p21WAF1/ CIP1 stability by asiatic acid. At the same time, the expression of NDR1/2 kinase decreased during treatment with asiatic acid in HepG2 cells. Moreover, asiatic acid inhibited the proliferation of HepG2 cells, this being attenuated by knockdown of p21WAF1/CIP1. In conclusion, we propose that asiatic acid inhibits the expression NDR1/2 kinase and promotes the stability of p21WAF1/CIP1 protein through attenuating NDR1/2 dependent phosphorylation of p21WAF1/CIP1 in HepG2 cells.

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