Lunasin promotes apoptosis in human colon cancer cells by mitochondrial pathway activation and induction of nuclear clusterin expression

Cancer Lett. 2010 Sep 1;295(1):44-53. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2010.02.010. Epub 2010 Mar 4.


Lunasin is a naturally occurring peptide with arginine-glycine-aspartic acid motif associated to its reported biological activity. We aimed to determine the potential of lunasin from soybean to stimulate apoptosis in HT-29 colon cancer cells. Lunasin caused cytotoxicity to HT-29 cells and induced G2/M cell cycle arrest with simultaneous increased in p21 expression. Lunasin-induced apoptosis as evidenced by a twofold increase in the percentage of cells undergoing apoptosis, decreased Bcl-2:Bax ratio from 8.5 to 0.4, increased caspase-3 activity by 77% and increased expression of pro-apoptotic nuclear clusterin by five fold when compared to untreated cells. In conclusion, lunasin stimulated apoptosis in HT-29 cells by activating apoptotic mitochondrial pathways and inducing expression of the pro-apoptotic nuclear clusterin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Clusterin / metabolism*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • G2 Phase / drug effects
  • HT29 Cells
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism
  • Soybean Proteins / pharmacology*


  • Clusterin
  • GM2S-1 protein, Glycine max
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Soybean Proteins
  • Caspase 3