Heat shock transcription factor-1 (HSF-1) guards the cancerous cells proteome against the alterations in protein homeostasis generated by their hostile tumor microenvironment. Contrasting with the classical induction of heat shock proteins, the pro-oncogenic activities of HSF-1 remains to be explored. Therefore, cancer's fragile proteostatic pathway governed by HSF-1 could be a potential therapeutic target and novel biomarker by natural compounds. Vitexin, a natural flavonoid has been documented as a potent anti-tumor agent on various cell lines. However, in the present study, when human colorectal carcinoma HCT-116 cells were exposed to vitexin, the induction of HSF-1 downstream target proteins, such as heat shock proteins were suppressed. We identified HSF-1 as a potential molecular target of vitexin that interact with DNA-binding domain of HSF-1, which inhibited HSF-1 oligomerization and activation (in silico). Consequently, HSF-1 hyperphosphorylation mediated by JNK operation causes transcriptional inactivation of HSF-1, and supported ROS-mediated autophagy induction. Interestingly, in HSF-1 immunoprecipitated and silenced HCT-116 cells, co-expression of apolipoprotein 1 (ApoL1) and JNK was observed which promoted the caspase independent autophagic cell death accompanied by p62 downregulation and increased LC3-I to LC3-II conversion. Finally, in vivo findings confirmed that vitexin suppressed tumor growth through activation of autophagic cascade in HCT-116 xenograft model. Taken together, our study insights a probable novel association between HSF-1 and ApoL-1 was established in this study, which supports HSF-1 as a potential target of vitexin to improve treatment outcome in colorectal cancer.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was funded by NRF (National Research Foundation of South Korea)-2016R1A2B4009227 and 2017R1A2B2005629.
© Bhardwaj et al.
- Autophagic cell death
- Colorectal carcinoma