Avicin D: A protein reactive plant isoprenoid dephosphorylates Stat3 by regulating both kinase and phosphatase activities

Valsala Haridas, Goshi Nishimura, Zhi Xiang Xu, Fiona Connolly, Margaret Hanausek, Zbigniew Walaszek, Robert Zoltaszek, Jordan U. Gutterman

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23 Scopus citations


Avicins, a class of electrophilic triterpenoids with pro-apoptotic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, have been shown to induce redox-dependant post-translational modification of cysteine residues to regulate protein function. Based on (a) the cross-talk that occurs between redox and phosphorylation processes, and (b) the role of Stat3 in the process of apoptosis and carcinogenesis, we chose to study the effects of avicins on the processes of phosphorylation/dephosphorylation in Stat3. Avicins dephosphorylate Stat3 in a variety of human tumor cell lines, leading to a decrease in the transcriptional activity of Stat3. The expression of Stat3-regulated proteins such as c-myc, cyclin D1, Bcl2, survivin and VEGF were reduced in response to avicin treatment. Underlying avicin-induced dephosphorylation of Stat3 was dephosphorylation of JAKs, as well as activation of protein phosphatase-1. Downregulation of both Stat3 activity and expression of Stat 3-controlled pro-survival proteins, contributes to the induction of apoptosis in avicin treated tumor cells. Based on the role of Stat3 in inflammation and wounding, and the in vivo inhibition of VEGF by avicins in a mouse skin carcinogenesis model, it is likely that avicin-induced inhibition of Stat3 activity results in the suppression of the pro-inflammatory and pro-oxidant stromal environment of tumors. Activation of PP-1, which also acts as a cellular economizer, combined with the redox regulation by avicins, can aid in redirecting metabolism from growth promoting anabolic to energy sparing pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere5578
JournalPloS one
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 18 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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