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August 2015

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Sep; 98(20): 11557-62.

Avicins, a family of triterpenoid saponins from Acacia victoriae (Bentham), inhibit activation of nuclear factor-kappaB by inhibiting both its nuclear localization and ability to bind DNA.

Haridas V, Arntzen CJ, Gutterman JU.

Department of Molecular Therapeutics, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.

Triterpenoid saponins, which are present in leguminous plants and some marine animals, possess a broad range of biological actions. We have earlier reported the extraction of avicins, a family of triterpenoid saponins obtained from the Australian desert tree Acacia victoriae (Leguminosae: Mimosoideae) that inhibit tumor cell growth and induce apoptosis, in part, by perturbing mitochondrial function. These saponins have also been found to prevent chemical-induced carcinogenesis in mice. This study examines the effect of a triterpene mixture (F094) and a single molecular species (avicin G) isolated from the mixture on tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-induced activation of nuclear transcription factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) in Jurkat cells (human T cell leukemia). Both F094 and avicin G were found to be potent inhibitors of TNF-induced NF-kappaB. Treatment of Jurkat cells with avicin G resulted in a much slower accumulation of the p65 subunit of NF-kappaB into the nucleus whereas the degradation of IkappaBalpha was unaffected. Avicin G also impaired the binding of NF-kappaB to DNA in in vitro binding assays. Treatment of cells with DTT totally reversed the avicin G-induced inhibition of NF-kappaB activity, suggesting that sulfhydryl groups critical for NF-kappaB activation were being affected. Avicin G treatment resulted in decreased expression of NF-kappaB-regulated proteins such as inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase (COX-2). Thus, the avicins may prove important for reducing both oxidative and nitrosative cellular stress and thereby suppressing the development of malignancies and related diseases.


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