Silvestrol regulates G2/M checkpoint genes independent of p53 activity.
As previously reported, silvestrol, a rocaglate derivative isolated from Aglaia foveolata, has similar potency to paclitaxel and camptothecin against cultured human cancer cells. Furthermore, silvestrol can inhibit cancer cell growth in mice without noticeable toxicity when administered up to 5 mg/kg body weight (the highest dose tested). The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the mechanism of silvestrol's cytotoxicity in human prostate cancer cells (LNCaP). The molecular signature induced in LNCaP cells by silvestrol was evaluated using microarray analysis. The results revealed that 20 apoptosis and cell cycle related genes were significantly altered in LNCaP cells exposed to silvestrol. These included UBL-3, p21 and p300, which were up-regulated, and p53, which was down-regulated. Since p53 expression is governed primarily at the level of translation, p53 was also evaluated by Western blot. Silvestrol caused a dose-dependent decrease in p53 protein within 30 min of exposure with no p53 detectable after 6 h. Down-regulation of p53 by silvestrol was associated with down-regulation of MDM2 and not prevented by lactacystin suggesting that silvestrol-induced degradation of p53 is not mediated by the proteasome. A slight decrease in cyclin B was observed within 6 h of silvestrol exposure and phosphatase Cdc25C protein, which activates Cdc2, was also decreased. These data demonstrate that cytotoxicity induced by silvestrol in LNCaP cells is associated with a block in the cell cycle at the G2/M checkpoint and alterations in the expression of genes regulating apoptosis and cell cycle in a manner independent of p53.