Celastrol decreases specificity proteins (Sp) and fibroblast growth factor receptor-3 (FGFR3) in bladder cancer cells

Carcinogenesis. 2012 Apr;33(4):886-94. doi: 10.1093/carcin/bgs102. Epub 2012 Feb 14.


Celastrol (CSL) is a naturally occurring triterpenoid acid that exhibits anticancer activity, and in KU7 and 253JB-V bladder cells, CSL induced apoptosis, inhibited growth, colony formation and migration and CSL decreased bladder tumor growth in vivo. CSL also decreased expression of specificity protein (Sp) transcription factors Sp1, Sp3 and Sp4 and several Sp-regulated genes/proteins including vascular endothelial growth factor, survivin and cyclin D1 and fibroblast growth factor receptor-3, a potential drug target for bladder cancer therapy, has now been characterized as an Sp-regulated gene downregulated by CSL. The mechanism of Sp downregulation by CSL was cell context-dependent due to activation of proteosome-dependent (KU7) and -independent (253JB-V) pathways. In 253JB-V cells, CSL induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) and inhibitors of ROS blocked CSL-induced growth inhibition and repression of Sp1, Sp3 and Sp4. This response was due to induction of the Sp repressors ZBTB10 and ZBTB4 and downregulation of miR-27a and miR-20a/17-5p, respectively, which regulate expression of these transcriptional repressors. Thus, the anticancer activity of CSL in 253JB-V cells is due to induction of ROS and ROS-mediated induction of Sp repressors (ZBTB4/ZBTB10) through downregulation of miR-27a and miR-20a/17-5p.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Pentacyclic Triterpenes
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 3 / metabolism*
  • Sp Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Triterpenes / pharmacology*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / pathology


  • Pentacyclic Triterpenes
  • Sp Transcription Factors
  • Triterpenes
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 3
  • celastrol