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See detailStimulation of topoisomerase II-mediated DNA cleavage by three DNA-intercalating plant alkaloids: cryptolepine, matadine, and serpentine.
Dassonneville, L.; Bonjean, K.; De Pauw, Marie-Claire ULg et al

in Biochemistry (1999), 38(24), 7719-26

Cryptolepine, matadine, and serpentine are three indoloquinoline alkaloids isolated from the roots of African plants: Cryptolepis sanguinolenta, Strychnos gossweileri, and Rauwolfia serpentina ... [more ▼]

Cryptolepine, matadine, and serpentine are three indoloquinoline alkaloids isolated from the roots of African plants: Cryptolepis sanguinolenta, Strychnos gossweileri, and Rauwolfia serpentina, respectively. For a long time, these alkaloids have been used in African folk medicine in the form of plant extracts for the treatment of multiple diseases, in particular as antimalarial drugs. To date, the molecular basis for their diverse biological effects remains poorly understood. To elucidate their mechanism of action, we studied their interaction with DNA and their effects on topoisomerase II. The strength and mode of binding to DNA of the three alkaloids were investigated by spectroscopy. The alkaloids bind tightly to DNA and behave as typical intercalating agents. All three compounds stabilize the topoisomerase II-DNA covalent complex and stimulate the cutting of DNA by topoisomerase II. The poisoning effect is more pronounced with cryptolepine than with matadine and serpentine, but none of the drugs exhibit a preference for cutting at a specific base. Cryptolepine which binds 10-fold more tightly to DNA than the two related alkaloids proves to be much more cytotoxic toward B16 melanoma cells than matadine and serpentine. The cellular consequences of the inhibition of topoisomerase II by cryptolepine were investigated using the HL60 leukemia cell line. The flow cytometry analysis shows that the drug alters the cell cycle distribution, but no sign of drug-induced apoptosis was detected when evaluating the internucleosomal fragmentation of DNA in cells. Cryptolepine-treated cells probably die via necrosis rather than via apoptosis. The results provide evidence that DNA and topoisomerase II are the primary targets of cryptolepine, matadine, and serpentine. [less ▲]

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See detailThe DNA intercalating alkaloid cryptolepine interferes with topoisomerase II and inhibits primarily DNA synthesis in B16 melanoma cells.
Bonjean, K.; De Pauw, Marie-Claire ULg; Defresne, Marie-Paule ULg et al

in Biochemistry (1998), 37(15), 5136-46

Cryptolepine hydrochloride is an indoloquinoline alkaloid isolated from the roots of Cryptolepis sanguinolenta. It is characterized by a multiplicity of host-mediated biological activities, including ... [more ▼]

Cryptolepine hydrochloride is an indoloquinoline alkaloid isolated from the roots of Cryptolepis sanguinolenta. It is characterized by a multiplicity of host-mediated biological activities, including antibacterial, antiviral, and antimalarial properties. To date, the molecular basis for its diverse biological effects remains largely uncertain. Several lines of evidence strongly suggest that DNA might correspond to its principal cellular target. Consequently, we studied the strength and mode of binding to DNA of cryptolepine by means of absorption, fluorescence, circular, and linear dichroism, as well as by a relaxation assay using DNA topoisomerases. The results of various optical and gel electrophoresis techniques converge to reveal that the alkaloid binds tightly to DNA and behaves as a typical intercalating agent. In DNAase I footprinting experiments it was found that the drug interacts preferentially with GC-rich sequences and discriminates against homo-oligomeric runs of A and T. This study has also led to the discovery that cryptolepine is a potent topoisomerase II inhibitor and a promising antitumor agent. It stabilizes topoisomerase II-DNA covalent complexes and stimulates the cutting of DNA at a subset of preexisting topoisomerase II cleavage sites. Taking advantage of the fluorescence of the indoloquinoline chromophore, fluorescence microscopy was used to map cellular uptake of the drug. Cryptolepine easily crosses the cell membranes and accumulates selectively into the nuclei rather than in the cytoplasm of B16 melanoma cells. Quantitative analyses of DNA in cells after Feulgen reaction and image cytometry reveal that the drug blocks the cell cycle in G2/M phases. It is also shown that the alkaloid is more potent at inhibiting DNA synthesis rather than RNA and protein synthesis. Altogether, the results provide direct evidence that DNA is the primary target of cryptolepine and suggest that this alkaloid is a valid candidate for the development of tumor active compounds. [less ▲]

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