The activation of signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (STAT3) has been linked with carcinogenesis through survival, proliferation, and angiogenesis of tumor cells. Agents that can suppress STAT3 activation have potential not only for prevention but also for treatment of cancer. In the present report, we investigated whether 5-hydroxy-2-methyl-1,4-naphthoquinone (plumbagin), an analogue of vitamin K, and isolated from chitrak (Plumbago zeylanica), an Ayurvedic medicinal plant, can modulate the STAT3 pathway. We found that plumbagin inhibited both constitutive and interleukin 6-inducible STAT3 phosphorylation in multiple myeloma (MM) cells and this correlated with the inhibition of c-Src, Janus-activated kinase (JAK)1, and JAK2 activation. Vanadate, however, reversed the plumbagin-induced downregulation of STAT3 activation, suggesting the involvement of a protein tyrosine phosphatase. Indeed, we found that plumbagin induced the expression of the protein tyrosine phosphatase, SHP-1, and silencing of the SHP-1 abolished the effect of plumbagin. This agent also downregulated the expression of STAT3-regulated cyclin D1, Bcl-xL, and vascular endothelial growth factor; activated caspase-3; induced poly (ADP ribose) polymerase cleavage; and increased the sub-G1 population of MM cells. Consistent with these results, overexpression of constitutive active STAT3 significantly reduced the plumbagin-induced apoptosis. When compared with AG490, a rationally designed STAT3/JAK2 inhibitor, plumbagin was found more potent in suppressing the proliferation of cells. Plumbagin also significantly potentiated the apoptotic effects of thalidomide and bortezomib in MM cells. Overall, these results suggest that the plumbagin inhibits STAT3 activation pathway through the induction of SHP-1 and this may mediate the sensitization of STAT3 overexpressing cancers to chemotherapeutic agents.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research