Stronger proteasomal inhibition and higher CHOP induction are responsible for more effective induction of paraptosis by dimethoxycurcumin than curcumin

M J Yoon, Y J Kang, J A Lee, I Y Kim, M A Kim, Y S Lee, J H Park, B Y Lee, I A Kim, H S Kim, S-A Kim, A-R Yoon, C-O Yun, E-Y Kim, K Lee, K S Choi
Cell Death & Disease 2014, 5: e1112
Although curcumin suppresses the growth of a variety of cancer cells, its poor absorption and low systemic bioavailability have limited its translation into clinics as an anticancer agent. In this study, we show that dimethoxycurcumin (DMC), a methylated, more stable analog of curcumin, is significantly more potent than curcumin in inducing cell death and reducing the clonogenicity of malignant breast cancer cells. Furthermore, DMC reduces the tumor growth of xenografted MDA-MB 435S cells more strongly than curcumin. We found that DMC induces paraptosis accompanied by excessive dilation of mitochondria and the endoplasmic reticulum (ER); this is similar to curcumin, but a much lower concentration of DMC is required to induce this process. DMC inhibits the proteasomal activity more strongly than curcumin, possibly causing severe ER stress and contributing to the observed dilation. DMC treatment upregulates the protein levels of CCAAT-enhancer-binding protein homologous protein (CHOP) and Noxa, and the small interfering RNA-mediated suppression of CHOP, but not Noxa, markedly attenuates DMC-induced ER dilation and cell death. Interestingly, DMC does not affect the viability, proteasomal activity or CHOP protein levels of human mammary epithelial cells, suggesting that DMC effectively induces paraptosis selectively in breast cancer cells, while sparing normal cells. Taken together, these results suggest that DMC triggers a stronger proteasome inhibition and higher induction of CHOP compared with curcumin, giving it more potent anticancer effects on malignant breast cancer cells.

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