Accumulated evidence shows that some phytochemicals provide beneficial effects for human health. Recently, a number of mechanistic studies have revealed that direct interactions between phytochemicals and functional proteins play significant roles in exhibiting their bioactivities. However, their binding selectivities to biological molecules are considered to be lower due to their small and simple structures. In this study, we found that zerumbone, a bioactive sesquiterpene, binds to numerous proteins with little selectivity. Similar to heat-denatured proteins, zerumbone-modified proteins were recognized by heat shock protein 90, a constitutive molecular chaperone, leading to heat shock factor 1-dependent heat shock protein induction in hepa1c1c7 mouse hepatoma cells. Furthermore, oral administration of this phytochemical up-regulated heat shock protein expressions in the livers of Sprague-Dawley rats. Interestingly, pretreatment with zerumbone conferred a thermoresistant phenotype to hepa1c1c7 cells as well as to the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. It is also important to note that several phytochemicals with higher hydrophobicity or electrophilicity, including phenethyl isothiocyanate and curcumin, markedly induced heat shock proteins, whereas most of the tested nutrients did not. These results suggest that non-specific protein modifications by xenobiotic phytochemicals cause mild proteostress, thereby inducing heat shock response and leading to potentiation of protein quality control systems. We considered these bioactivities to be xenohormesis, an adaptation mechanism against xenobiotic chemical stresses. Heat shock response by phytochemicals may be a fundamental mechanism underlying their various bioactivities.
Flavonoids are present in many plants, and hence, in foods and ingredients derived from them. These polyphenolic compounds have attracted renewed attention as potential anticarcinogens, and the molecular mechanisms of their anticarcinogenic effects and their bioavailability have been extensively explored. In this review, we focus on the major dietary flavonoids; flavones, flavonols, and flavan-3-ols (catechins), and evaluate their roles in cancer prevention. After absorption with or without metabolic conjugation, flavonoids are transported to target organs where they exert their anticarcinogenic activity. The molecular mechanisms of the anticarcinogenic effects of flavonoids include their antagonistic effect on the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), and regulation of phase I and II drug metabolizing enzymes and phase III transporters. Experimental evidence suggests that flavonoids modulate signal transduction pathways at each stage of carcinogenesis. The interactions between flavonoids and biomolecules in vivo must be investigated in detail to identify specific targets. In addition, the potential side effects should be considered when flavonoid supplements are used for cancer prevention. Therefore, the use of flavonoids as chemopreventive agents should be further investigated to establish safe levels of flavonoid intake.
Zerumbone, a sesquiterpene derived from tropical ginger, contains an electrophilic ?,?-unsaturated carbonyl moiety and was found to suppress chemically induced papilloma formation in mouse skin. Here, we report that topical application of zerumbone onto dorsal skin of hairless mice induces activation of NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) and expression of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1). We compared the levels of HO-1 protein in the skin of zerumbone-treated Nrf2 wild-type and Nrf2 knockout mice, and nrf2-deficient mice expressed HO-1 protein to a much lesser extent than the wild-type animals following topical application of zerumbone. Treatment of mouse epidermal JB6 cells with zerumbone caused a marked increase of Nrf2 nuclear translocation followed by the promoter activity of HO-1, and also enhanced direct binding of Nrf2 to the antioxidant response element. Moreover, knockdown of Nrf2 in JB6 cells diminished the zerumbone-induced upregulation of HO-1. Notably, ?-humulene and 8-hydroxy-?-humulene, the structural analogues of zerumbone that lack the ?,?-unsaturated carbonyl group, failed to activate Nrf2 and were unable to increase HO-1 expression. Unlike zerumbone, these nonelectrophilic analogues could not suppress the 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-induced JB6 cell transformation and the intracellular accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Interestingly, when JB6 cells were treated with carbon monoxide-releasing molecule that mimics the HO-1 activity, the TPA-induced ROS production was markedly reduced. Taken together, these findings suggest that upregulation of HO-1 expression by zerumbone is mediated through activation of Nrf2 signaling, which provides a mechanistic basis for the chemopreventive effects of this sesquiterpene on mouse skin carcinogenesis.
Zerumbone (ZER), a sesquiterpene in Zingiber zerumbet Smith, has been implicated as a promising chemopreventive agent. Here we found that ZER suppressed expression of pro-inflammatory genes (COX-2 and iNOS) and induced detoxification genes (GSTP1 and NQO1) in RAW264.7 macrophages. Using the ZER-bound Sepharose gel, it appeared ZER was covalently bound to proteins, Keap1 and HuR, that play key roles in these molecular mechanisms.
Phytochemicals are generally defined as secondary metabolites in plants that play crucial roles in their adaptation to a variety of environmental stressors. There is a great body of compelling evidence showing that these metabolites have pronounced potentials for regulating and modulating human health and disease onset, as shown by both experimental and epidemiological approaches. Concurrently, enormous efforts have been made to elucidate the mechanism of actions underlying their biological and physiological functions. For example, the pioneering work of Tachibana et al. uncovered the receptor for (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCg) as the 67 kDa laminin receptor, which was shown to partially mediate the functions of EGCg, such as anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, and anti-proliferative activities. Thereafter, several protein kinases were identified as binding proteins of flavonoids, including myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol. Isothiocyanates, sulfur-containing phytochemicals present in cruciferous plants, are well known to target Keap1 for activating the transcription factor Nrf2 for inducing self-defensive and anti-oxidative gene expression. In addition, we recently identified CD36 as a cell surface receptor for ursolic acid, a triterpenoid ubiquitously occurring in plants. Importantly, the above mentioned target proteins are indispensable for phytochemicals to exhibit, at least in part, their bioactivities. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to assume that some of the activities and potential toxicities of metabolites are exerted via their interactions with unidentified, off-target proteins. This notion may be supported by the fact that even rationally designed drugs occasionally display off-target effects and induce unexpected outcomes, including toxicity. Here we update the current status and future directions of research related to target molecules of food phytochemicals.
Zerumbone, a sesquiterpene present in Zingiber zerumbet Smith, has been implicated as a promising chemopreventive agent. Interestingly, a number of studies have revealed that its potent bioactivities are dependent on the electrophilic moiety of its ?,?-unsaturated carbonyl group, while our recent findings showed its chemical potential for binding to cellular proteins through a Michael reaction. In the present study, modifications of proteins by zerumbone led to their insolubilization in vitro. In living cell models, zerumbone induced ubiquitination and aggregation of cellular proteins, which demonstrated its substantial proteo-toxicity. On the other hand, it was also revealed that zerumbone possesses potential for activating intracellular proteolysis mechanisms of the ubiquitin-proteasome system and autophagy. Furthermore, it up-regulated expressions of pro-autophagic genes including p62, which is known as a cargo receptor of aggrephagy, the selective autophagic process for protein aggregates. Pretreatment of Hepa1c1c7 cells with zerumbone conferred a phenotype resistant to cytotoxicity and protein modifications by 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal, an endogenous lipid peroxidation product, in a p62-dependent manner. Together, these results suggest that protein modifications by zerumbone cause mild proteo-stress, thereby activating intracellular proteolysis machineries to maintain protein homeostasis. We consider these effects on proteolysis mechanisms to be hormesis, which provides beneficial functions through mild biological stresses.
Related JoVE Video
Journal of Visualized Experiments
What is Visualize?
JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
How does it work?
We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.
Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...
In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.