DAPK1 mediates the G1 phase arrest in human nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells induced by grifolin, a potential antitumor natural product

Xiang Jian Luo, Wei Li, Li Fang Yang, Xin Fang Yu, Lan Bo Xiao, Min Tang, Xin Dong, Qi Pan Deng, Ann M. Bode, Ji Kai Liu, Ya Cao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Grifolin, a secondary metabolite isolated from the fresh fruiting bodies of the mushroom Albatrellus confluens, has been shown to induce G1 phase cell-cycle arrest in tumor cells in previous studies of our group. However, the mechanisms of action are not completely understood. Our group further demonstrated that grifolin upregulates death-associated protein kinase 1 (DAPK1) in nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells (NPCs). Here, we found that grifolin induced dephosphorylation of DAPK1 (Ser308) to activate DAPK1 and subsequent phosphorylation of its potential downstream effector p21 (Thr145) in nasopharyngeal carcinoma cell CNE1. Inhibition of DAPK1 by introducing siRNA targeting DAPK1 reversed the grifolin- induced phosphorylation of p21. Furthermore, we confirmed that grifolin increased the half-life of p21 and promoted its stability. Flow cytometry analysis demonstrated that DAPK1 was involved in grifolin-induced G1 phase arrest in CNE1 cells. The similar effects induced by grifolin and mechanism beneath were identified in another nasopharyngeal carcinoma cell HONE1. In addition, we observed that grifolin promoted the protein-protein interaction of DAPK1 and ERK1/2 to prevent ERK1/2 nucleolus translocation. Our findings indicate that DAPK1 plays a crucial role in the induction of cell-cycle arrest at G1 phase by grifolin. Grifolin might represent a promising candidate in the prevention and intervention of cancer by targeting DAPK1 signaling to induce cell cycle G1 phase arrest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-434
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Nov 30 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China ( 90813028 , 30801387 , 30930101 and 81072220 ), and a grant from the “973” Project of the Ministry of Science and Technology ( 2009CB522300 and 2011CB504300 ).


  • Cell cycle
  • DAPK1
  • ERK1/2
  • Grifolin
  • Mushroom
  • NPC
  • p21

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