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A novel plant toxin, persin, with in vivo activity in the mammary gland, induces Bim-dependent apoptosis in human breast cancer cells


Phytochemicals have provided an abundant and effective source of therapeutics for the treatment of cancer. Here we describe the characterization of a novel plant toxin, persin, with in vivo activity in the mammary gland and a p53-, estrogen receptor-, and Bcl-2-independent mode of action. Persin was previously identified from avocado leaves as the toxic principle responsible for mammary gland-specific necrosis and apoptosis in lactating livestock. Here we used a lactating mouse model to confirm that persin has a similar cytotoxicity for the lactating mammary epithelium. Further in vitro studies in a panel of human breast cancer cell lines show that persin selectively induces a G2-M cell cycle arrest and caspase-dependent apoptosis in sensitive cells. The latter is dependent on expression of the BH3-only protein Bim. Bim is a sensor of cytoskeletal integrity, and there is evidence that persin acts as a microtubule-stabilizing agent. Due to the unique structure of the compound, persin could represent a novel class of microtubule-targeting agent with potential specificity for breast cancers.

Type Journal
ISBN 1535-7163 (Print)
Authors Butt, A. J.;Roberts, C. G.;Seawright, A. A.;Oelrichs, P. B.;Macleod, J. K.;Liaw, T. Y.;Kavallaris, M.;Somers-Edgar, T. J.;Lehrbach, G. M.;Watts, C. K.;Sutherland, R. L. :
Published Date 2006-01-01
Published Volume 5
Published Issue 9
Published Pages 2300-9
Status Published in-print
URL link to publisher's version
OpenAccess link to author's accepted manuscript version