Research Papers:

Breast cancer suppression by aplysin is associated with inhibition of PI3K/AKT/FOXO3a pathway

Xinling Zhang, Tingting Zhuang, Zhengyan Liang, Li Li, Meilan Xue, Jia Liu and Hui Liang _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:63923-63934. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.19209

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Xinling Zhang1, Tingting Zhuang2, Zhengyan Liang1, Li Li2, Meilan Xue1, Jia Liu1 and Hui Liang1

1The Institute of Human Nutrition, Medical College of Qingdao University, Qingdao 266021, China

2Key Laboratory of Marine Drugs, Chinese Ministry of Education, Key Laboratory of Glycoscience & Glycotechnology of Shandong Province, School of Medicine and Pharmacy, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266003, China

Correspondance to:

Hui Liang, email: [email protected]

Xinling Zhang, email: [email protected]

Keywords: aplysin, PI3K/AKT, cell proliferation, apoptosis, breast cancer

Received: December 15, 2016     Accepted: June 04, 2017     Published: July 12, 2017


Aplysin, a bromosesquiterpene isolated from Aplysia kurodai, was explored as a potential anti-breast cancer agent by us. However, the mechanisms underlying the anticarcinogenic effect of aplysin remain unclear. Here, aplysin was found to remarkably suppress tumor growth in vivo, inhibit cell proliferation and promote apoptosis in vitro. Additionally, we demonstrated that aplysin attained these effects in part by down-regulating PI3K/AKT/FOXO3a signaling pathway. Aplysin treatment inhibited the phosphorylation levels of AKT (Ser-473) and AKT-dependent phosphorylation of FOXO3a (Ser-253) in breast cancer cell lines and breast cancer tissues. The expression levels of FOXO3a-targeted genes were also destabilized by aplysin, cyclin D1 and Bcl-XL were declined; however, p21CIP1, p27KIP1, Bim, TRAIL and FasL were increased both in vivo and in vitro. Furthermore, activation of the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway by an activator and silencing of FOXO3a by shRNA protected the cells from aplysin mediated growth suppression and apoptosis. In summary, our findings revealed that aplysin could suppress breast cancer progression by inhibiting PI3K/AKT/FOXO3a pathway, thereby suggesting a potential role of aplysin as a chemoprevention drug for patients with breast cancer.

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