A flavonoid isolated from Streptomyces sp. (ERINLG-4) induces apoptosis in human lung cancer A549 cells through p53 and cytochrome c release caspase dependant pathway

Chem Biol Interact. 2014 Dec 5;224:24-35. doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2014.09.019. Epub 2014 Oct 5.


The aim of this study was to investigate the anticancer activity of a flavonoid type of compound isolated from soil derived filamentous bacterium Streptomyces sp. (ERINLG-4) and to explore the molecular mechanisms of action. Cytotoxic properties of ethyl acetate extract was carried out against A549 lung cancer cell line using the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Cytotoxic properties of isolated compound were investigated in A549 lung cancer cell line, COLO320DM cancer cell line and Vero cells. The compound showed potent cytotoxic properties against A549 lung cancer cell line and moderate cytotoxic properties against COLO320DM cancer cell line. Isolated compound showed no toxicity up to 2000 μg/mL in Vero cells. So we have chosen the A549 lung cancer cell line for further anticancer studies. Intracellular visualization was done by using a laser scanning confocal microscope. Apoptosis was measured using DNA fragmentation technique. Treatment of the A549 cancer cells with isolated compound significantly reduced cell proliferation, increased formation of fragmented DNA and apoptotic body. Activation of caspase-9 and caspase-3 indicated that compound may be inducing intrinsic and extrinsic apoptosis pathways. Bcl-2, p53, pro-caspases, caspase-3, caspase-9 and cytochrome c release were detected by western blotting analysis after compound treatment (123 and 164 μM). The activities of pro-caspases-3, caspase-9 cleaved to caspase-3 and caspase-9 gradually increased after the addition of isolated compound. But Bcl-2 protein was down regulated after treatment with isolated compound. Molecular docking studies showed that the compound bound stably to the active sites of caspase-3 and caspase-9. These results strongly suggest that the isolated compound induces apoptosis in A549 cancer cells via caspase activation through cytochrome c release from mitochondria. The present results might provide helpful suggestions for the design of antitumor drugs toward lung cancer treatment.

Keywords: Caspases; Cytochrome c; Molecular docking; Streptomyces sp.; p53.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / isolation & purification
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Caspases / metabolism*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Cytochromes c / metabolism*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • Flavonoids / chemistry
  • Flavonoids / isolation & purification
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Streptomyces / chemistry*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism*
  • Vero Cells


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Flavonoids
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Cytochromes c
  • Caspases