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Antitumoral activity of different Amaryllidaceae alkaloids: In vitro and in silico assays.

ETHNOPHARMACOLOGY RELEVANCE: The plants of Amaryllidaceae family, such as Amaryllis belladonna L., have been used as herbal remedies for thousands of years to address various disorders, including diseases that might today be identified as cancer.

AIM OF THE STUDY: The objective of this work was to evaluate the potential of three Amaryllidaceae alkaloids against four cancer cell lines.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The alkaloids lycorine, 1-O-acetylcaranine, and montanine were evaluated in vitro against colon adenocarcinoma cell line (HCT-116) and breast carcinoma cell lines (MCF-7, MDAMB231, and Hs578T). Computational experiments (target prediction and molecular docking) were conducted to gain a deeper comprehension of possible interactions between these alkaloids and potential targets associated with these tumor cells.

RESULTS: Montanine presented the best results against HCT-116, MDAMB231, and Hs578T cell lines, while lycorine was the most active against MCF-7. In alignment with the target prediction outcomes and existing literature, four potential targets were chosen for the molecular docking analysis: CDK8, EGFR, ER-alpha, and dCK. The docking scores revealed two potential targets for the alkaloids with scores similar to co-crystallized inhibitors and substrates: CDK8 and dCK. A visual analysis of the optimal docked configurations indicates that the alkaloids may interact with some key residues in contrast to the other docked compounds. This observation implies their potential to bind effectively to both targets.

CONCLUSIONS: In vitro and in silico results corroborate with data literature suggesting the Amaryllidaceae alkaloids as interesting molecules with antitumoral properties, especially montanine, which showed the best in vitro results against colorectal and breast carcinoma. More studies are necessary to confirm the targets and pharmaceutical potential of montanine against these cancer cell lines.

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