Transcriptome analysis and connectivity mapping of Cissampelos pareira L. provides molecular links of ESR1 modulation to viral inhibition

Sci Rep. 2021 Oct 11;11(1):20095. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-99444-0.


Bioactive fractions obtained from medicinal plants which have been used for the treatment of multiple diseases could exert their effects by targeting common pathways. Prior knowledge of their usage could allow us to identify novel molecular links. In this study, we explored the molecular basis of action of one such herbal formulation Cissampelos pareira L. (Cipa), used for the treatment of female hormone disorders and fever. Transcriptomic studies on MCF7 cell lines treated with Cipa extract carried out using Affymetrix arrays revealed a downregulation of signatures of estrogen response potentially modulated through estrogen receptor α (ERα). Molecular docking analysis identified 38 Cipa constituents that potentially bind (ΔG < - 7.5) with ERα at the same site as estrogen. The expression signatures in the connectivity map (; ) revealed high positive scores with translation inhibitors such as emetine (score: 99.61) and knockdown signatures of genes linked to the antiviral response such as ribosomal protein RPL7 (score: 99.92), which is a reported ERα coactivator. Further, gene knockdown experiments revealed that Cipa exhibits antiviral activity in dengue infected MCF7 cells potentially modulated through estrogen receptor 1. This approach reveals a novel pathway involving the ESR1-RPL7 axis which could be a potential target in dengue viral infection.