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Bergapten drives autophagy through the up-regulation of PTEN expression in breast cancer cells.

Molecular cancer (2015-07-08)
Francesca De Amicis, Saveria Aquila, Catia Morelli, Carmela Guido, Marta Santoro, Ida Perrotta, Loredana Mauro, Francesca Giordano, Alessandra Nigro, Sebastiano Andò, Maria L Panno
ABSTRACT

Bergapten (5-methoxypsoralen), a natural psoralen derivative present in many fruits and vegetables, has shown antitumoral effects in a variety of cell types. In this study, it has been addressed how Bergapten in breast cancer cells induces autophagic process. In MCF7 and ZR-75 breast cancer cells Bergapten exhibited anti-survival response by inducing the autophagic process increasing Beclin1, PI3KIII, UVRAG, AMBRA expression and conversion of LC3-I to LC3-II. LC3-GFP, Acridine orange assay and transmission electron microscopy even confirmed the increased autophagosome formations in treated cells. Bergapten-induced autophagy is dependent by PTEN up-regulation, since silencing this gene, the induction of Beclin1 and the p-AKT/p-mTOR signal down-regulation were reversed. PTEN is transcriptionally regulated by Bergapten through the involvement of p38MAPK/NF-Y, as evidenced by the use of p38MAPK inhibitor SB203580, site-direct mutagenesis of NF-Y element and NF-Y siRNA. Furthermore NF-Y knockdown prevented Bergapten-induced acid vesicular organelle accumulations (AVOs), strengthening the role of this element in mediating autophagy. Our data indicate PTEN as a key target of Bergapten action in breast cancer cells for the induction of autophagy. These findings add further details on the mechanism of action of Bergapten, therefore suggesting that phytochemical compounds may be implemented in the novel strategies for breast cancer treatment.

MATERIALS
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