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Cell Physiol Biochem. 2018;45(3):917-934. doi: 10.1159/000487286. Epub 2018 Feb 2.

ITRAQ-Based Proteomics Analysis of Triptolide On Human A549 Lung Adenocarcinoma Cells.

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Department of Clinical Laboratory, Tongde Hospital of Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou, China.
Department of Clinical Laboratory, Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, Medical College, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China.



Triptolide (TP) is a diterpenoid triepoxide extracted from the traditional Chinese medical herb Tripterygium wilfordii that exerts prominent broad-spectrum anticancer activity to repress proliferation and induce cancer cell apoptosis through various molecular pathways. We previously observed that TP inhibits the progression of A549 cells and pancreatic cancer cells (PNCA-1) in vitro. However, the complex molecular mechanism underlying the anticancer activity of TP is not well understood.


To explore the molecular mechanisms by which TP induces lung cancer cell apoptosis, we investigated changes in the protein profile of A549 cells treated with TP using a proteomics approach (iTRAQ [isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation] combined with NanoLC-MS/MS [nano liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry]). Changes in the profiles of the expressed proteins were analyzed using the bioinformatics tools OmicsBean and the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) and were verified using western blotting. Apoptosis and cell cycle effects were analyzed using flow cytometry.


TP induced apoptosis in A549 cells and blocked A549 cells at the G2/M phase. Using iTRAQ technology, we observed 312 differentially expressed proteins associated in networks and implicated in different KEGG pathways. Gene Ontology (GO) analysis showed the overviews of dysregulated proteins in the biological process (BP), cell component (CC), and molecular function (MF) categories. Moreover, some candidate proteins involved in PARP1/AIF and nuclear Akt signaling pathways or metastasis processes were validated by western blotting.


TP exerted anti-tumor activity on non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) A549 lung adenocarcinoma cells by dysregulating tumor-related protein expression. Herein, we provide a preliminary study of TP-related cytotoxicity on A549 cells using proteomics tools. These findings may improve the current understanding of the anti-tumor effects of TP on lung cancer cells and may reveal candidate proteins as potential targets for the treatment of lung cancer.


ITRAQ; NSCLC; Proteome; Triptolide

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