Glaucocalyxin A, a negative Akt regulator, specifically induces apoptosis in human brain glioblastoma U87MG cells

Acta Biochim Biophys Sin (Shanghai). 2013 Nov;45(11):946-52. doi: 10.1093/abbs/gmt097. Epub 2013 Sep 15.


Akt is becoming an attractive target in the development of anti-tumor agents. In the present study, we aimed to discover novel negative Akt regulators against malignant glioma. An Akt regulator screening platform performed in an Akt-GFP overexpression cell line was developed, and natural product library was screened and evaluated using this platform. In addition, the cytotoxic effect of the regulator was detected by MTT assay. Cell apoptosis was assayed by Hoechst 33342 staining and flow cytometry analysis. Afterwards, the apoptotic signaling pathway was investigated by western blot analysis. Glaucocalyxin A, isolated from Rabdosia japonica, was identified as a potent negative regulator of Akt. In human-derived malignant glioma U87MG cells, glaucocalyxin A inhibited Akt phosphorylation, suppressed proliferation, and promoted apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner, but not in normal glial cells. Furthermore, glaucocalyxin A activated caspase-3, decreased BAD phosphorylation, and reduced the expression of X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein. Taken together, these results indicated that glaucocalyxin A may become a promising candidate in the treatment of malignant glioma.

Keywords: Akt regulator; apoptosis; glaucocalyxin A; glioblastoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Diterpenes, Kaurane / pharmacology*
  • Glioblastoma / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism*


  • Diterpenes, Kaurane
  • glaucocalyxin A
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt