Src homology-2 domain-containing protein tyrosine phosphatase (Shp2), a novel proto-oncogenic protein, is an important target in cancer therapy research. Approximately 2000 plant extracts were screened to find its natural specific inhibitors, with the ethyl acetate (EtOAc) active extract of the root of Angelica dahurica showing considerable inhibitory effects (IC(50)=21.6 mg/L). Bioguided isolation of EtOAc extract led to 13 compounds, including 10 fatty acids and derivatives. All these compounds were isolated from the plant for the first time. The inhibitory effects of these compounds on the enzyme activities of Shp2, VH1-related human protein (VHR), and hematopoietic protein tyrosine phosphatase (HePTP) were investigated. 8Z,11Z-Feptadecadienoic acid (4), 14Z,17Z-tricosadienoic acid (5), caffeic acid (9), and 2-hydroxy-3-[(1-oxododecyl) oxy]propyl-β-d-glucopyranoside (11) showed considerable selective inhibition of Shp2 activity. After treatment of HepG2 cells with the compounds, only compound 5, a polyunsaturated fatty acid, strongly induced poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) cleavage in a dose- and time-dependent manner and increased the activities of caspase-3, caspase-8, and caspase-9 at 100 μM. Compound 5 also inhibited colony formation of HepG2 cells in a dose-dependent manner. Thus, this study reported fatty acids as specific Shp2 inhibitors and provided the molecular basis of one active compound as novel potential anticancer drug.
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