p53-independent induction of G1 arrest and p21WAF1/CIP1 expression by ascofuranone, an isoprenoid antibiotic, through downregulation of c-Myc

Ji-Hak Jeong, Shin-Sung Kang, Kwan-Kyu Park, Hyeun-Wook Chang, Junji Magae, Young-Chae Chang
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 2010, 9 (7): 2102-13
Ascofuranone has been shown to have antitumor activity, but the precise molecular mechanism by which it inhibits the proliferation of cancer cells remains unclear. Here, we study the effects of ascofuranone on cell cycle progression in human cancer cells and find that ascofuranone induces G(1) arrest without cytoxicity with upregulation of p53 and p21(WAF1/CIP1) while downregulating c-Myc and G(1) cyclins. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assay and RNA interference studies with cells deficient in p53 and p21 show that ascofuranone induces p21(WAF1/CIP1) expression and subsequent G(1) arrest through the release of p21(WAF1/CIP1) promoter from c-Myc-mediated transcriptional repression, independent of p53. Ascofuranone-induced p21(WAF1/CIP1) associates with CDK2 and prevents CDK2-cyclin E complex formation, leading to the inactivation of E2F transcriptional activity. These results suggest that ascofuranone upregulates p21(WAF1/CIP1) through p53-independent suppression of c-Myc expression, leading to cytostatic G(1) arrest. Thus, ascofuranone represents a unique natural antitumor compound that targets c-Myc independent of p53.

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