Neoalbaconol induces energy depletion and multiple cell death in cancer cells by targeting PDK1-PI3-K/Akt signaling pathway

Q. Deng, X. Yu, L. Xiao, Z. Hu, X. Luo, Y. Tao, L. Yang, X. Liu, H. Chen, Z. Ding, T. Feng, Y. Tang, X. Weng, J. Gao, W. Yi, A. M. Bode, Z. Dong, J. Liu, Y. Cao

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66 Scopus citations


Many natural compounds derived from plants or microbes show promising potential for anticancer treatment, but few have been found to target energy-relevant regulators. In this study, we report that neoalbaconol (NA), a novel small-molecular compound isolated from the fungus, Albatrellus confluens, could target 3-phosphoinositide-dependent protein kinase 1 (PDK1) and inhibit its downstream phosphoinositide-3 kinase (PI3-K)/Akt-hexokinase 2 (HK2) pathway, which eventually resulted in energy depletion. By targeting PDK1, NA reduced the consumption of glucose and ATP generation, activated autophagy and caused apoptotic and necroptotic death of cancer cells through independent pathway. Necroptosis was remarkably induced, which was confirmed by several necroptosis-specific markers: the activation of autophagy, presence of necrotic morphology, increase of receptor-interacting protein 1 (RIP1)/RIP3 colocalization and interaction and rescued by necroptosis inhibitor necrostatin-1. The possibility that Akt overexpression reversed the NA-induced energy crisis confirmed the importance of the PDK1-Akt-energy pathway in NA-mediated cell death. Moreover, NA shows the capability to inhibit PI3-K/Akt signaling and suppress tumor growth in the nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) nude mouse model. These results supported the feasibility of NA in anticancer treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere804
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements. We thank Professor Qiao Wu (School of Life Science, Xiamen University, China), Prof. Wenbin Zeng (School of medicine, Central South University, China) and Prof. Lun-Quan Sun (Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, China) for their helpful discussions and kind advice. We also thank Dr. Xiao-Dong Wang (National Institute of Biological Sciences, China) for providing the Flag-RIP3 plasmid. We thank Dr. Xiao-Feng Zhu (The State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Sun Yat-Sen University, China) for providing the pcNDA3.1-myr-Akt and pcNDA3.1-YFP-LC3 plasmids. This work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (2009CB522300); the National Nature Science Foundation of China (90813028 and 30830113); and Hunan Provincial Innovation Foundation for Postgraduate.


  • Cancer cell death
  • Energy depletion
  • Neoalbaconol
  • PDK1
  • PI3-K/Akt


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