A Comparison of p53 Isoform Profiles and Apoptosis Induced by Camptothecin or a Herbal Khat Extract (Catha Edulis (Vahl) Forssk. ex Endl.) in Leukemic Cell Lines: Exploring Cellular Responses in Therapy Development
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionCancers. 2020, 12 (12), 3596. 10.3390/cancers12123596
Khat (Catha edulis (Vahl) Forssk. ex Endl.) is habitually used as a natural stimulant by millions of people, but is associated with adverse effects on gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and central neural systems. At the cellular level khat toxicity involves p53 induction and cell cycle arrest, decreased mitochondrial function and activation of receptor- and mitochondria-mediated cell death pathways. In this study we have examined an extract of khat for induction of p53 post-translational modifications (PTMs) and the functional role of p53 in khat-mediated cell death. Khat was shown to induce phosphorylation and acetylation of p53 in both the khat-sensitive MOLM-13 and the khat-resistant MV-4-11 cell line, but accumulation of the full-length p53 isoform was only observed in the khat sensitive cell line. Small molecule inhibitors of p38 MAP kinase sensitized MV-4-11 cells for khat-treatment without concomitant stabilization of p53. Experiments using a p53 knock-down cell line and murine p53 knock-out bone marrow cells indicated that p53 was redundant in khat-mediated cell death in vitro. We suggest that analysis of isoform patterns and p53 PTMs are useful for elucidation of biological effects of complex plant extracts, and that p53 protein analysis is particularly useful in the search for new chemical probes and experimental cancer therapeutics.