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Molecules 2012, 17(10), 11435-11446; doi:10.3390/molecules171011435

Recombinant VAA-I from Viscum album Induces Apoptotic Cell Death of Hepatocellular Carcinoma SMMC7721 Cells

1
Department of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery, the First Clinical Hospital, Jilin University, Jilin 130021, China
2
Department of General Surgery, the Affiliated Hospital, Beihua University, Jilin 132000, China
3
The College of Pharmacy, Beihua University, Jilin 132013, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 June 2012 / Revised: 30 August 2012 / Accepted: 3 September 2012 / Published: 26 September 2012
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Abstract

Researchers have proposed that VAA-I, a specific plant lectin found in Viscum album, has therapeutic effects on cancer and autoimmune diseases. VAA-I has shown some promising treatment results in some types of tumor cell lines, especially SMMC-7721 cells (human hepatocellular carcinoma cells). However, few details are known about the mechanism and process of cell death induced by VAA-I in tumor cells. In this study, the cell morphology results showed that SMMC-7721 cells treated with VAA-I exhibited several features typical of apoptotic cell death, which was confirmed by the Caspase inhibition assay. Fluo-3-acetoxymethyl ester (AM) fluorescence imaging techniques showed that rVAA-I significantly elevated the intracellular calcium level ([Ca2+]i) in SMMC-7721 cells. These findings suggest that apoptosis may play the most important role in SMMC-7721 cell death induced by rVAA-I. Finally, in the SMMC-7721 cells treated with rVAA-I, a series of genes in the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway were expressed differentially, and further found that PI 3-kinase pathway is involved in rVAA-I signal transduction in SMMC-7721 cells.
Keywords: Viscum album; rVAA-I; apoptosis; phosphoinositide 3-kinase Viscum album; rVAA-I; apoptosis; phosphoinositide 3-kinase
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Yang, X.; Jiang, S.; Liu, Y.; Zhang, P.; Xie, S.; Wang, G. Recombinant VAA-I from Viscum album Induces Apoptotic Cell Death of Hepatocellular Carcinoma SMMC7721 Cells. Molecules 2012, 17, 11435-11446.

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