A quassinoid 6α-tigloyloxychaparrinone inhibits hypoxia-inducible factor-1 pathway by inhibition of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E phosphorylation

Xuejun Jin, Hong Ri Jin, Dongho Lee, Jeong Hyung Lee, Sang Kyum Kim, Jung Joon Lee

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) is the central mediator of cellular responses to low oxygen and vital to many aspects of cancer biology. In a search for HIF-1 inhibitors, we identified a quassinoid 6α-tigloyloxychaparrinone (TCN) as an inhibitor of HIF-1 activation from Ailantus altissima. We here demonstrated the effect of TCN on HIF-1 activation induced by hypoxia or CoCl2. TCN showed the potent inhibitory activity against HIF-1 activation induced by hypoxia in various human cancer cell lines. This compound markedly decreased the hypoxia-induced accumulation of HIF-1α protein dose-dependently, whereas it did not affect the expressions of HIF-1β and topoisomerase-I. Furthermore, TCN prevented hypoxia-induced expression of HIF-1 target genes for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and erythropoietin. Further analysis revealed that TCN strongly inhibited HIF-1α protein synthesis, without affecting the expression level of HIF-1α mRNA or degradation of HIF-1α protein. Moreover, the levels of phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase-1/2 (ERK1/2), mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase-interacting protein kinase-1 (MNK1) and eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) were significantly suppressed by the treatment of TCN, without changing the total levels of these proteins. Our data suggested that TCN may exhibit anticancer activity by inhibiting HIF-1α translation through the inhibition of eIF4E phosphorylation pathway and thus provide a novel mechanism for the anticancer activity of quassinoids. TCN could be a new HIF-1-targeted anticancer agent and be effective on mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)-targeted cancer therapy, in which mTOR inhibition increases eIF4E phosphorylation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-47
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Sep 11



  • 6α-tigloyloxychaparrinone
  • Antitumor activity
  • eIF4E
  • HIF-1α translation
  • Quassinoid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology

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