Characterization of two water-soluble lignin metabolites with antiproliferative activities from Inonotus obliquus

Int J Biol Macromol. 2015 Mar;74:507-14. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2014.12.044. Epub 2015 Jan 10.


The chaga mushroom, Inonotus obliquus has long been recognized as a remedy for cancer, gastritis, ulcers, and tuberculosis of the bones since the 16th century. Herein we reported the identification of two homogenous biological macromolecules, designated as IOW-S-1 and IOW-S-2 with anti-tumor activities from the hot-water extract of I. obliquus. Their molecular weights were determined to be 37.9 and 24.5kDa by high performance gel permeation chromatography (HPGPC) respectively. Chemical and spectral analysis indicated that both IOW-S-1 and IOW-S-2 were predominant in lignin, along with ∼20% carbohydrates. Examination of cytotoxicity showed that these two lignin-carbohydrate complexes induced cell death in a concentration dependent manner, while this apoptosis induction was largely cell-cycle independent. Further investigation demonstrated that IOW-S-1 or IOW-S-2 inhibited the activation of the nuclear transcription factor in cancer cells. These findings implied that soluble lignin derivatives were one of bioactive components in I. obliquus, and further provided insights into the understanding of molecular basis for diverse medicinal and nutritional values of this mushroom.

Keywords: Biopolymers; Carbohydrate; Fungus; Lignin; NF-κB inhibition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Basidiomycota / chemistry*
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Lignin / chemistry*
  • Lignin / isolation & purification
  • Lignin / pharmacology*
  • NF-kappa B / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular
  • Solubility
  • Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared


  • NF-kappa B
  • Lignin