Microtubule is a popular target for anticancer drugs. Chamaecypanone C, is a natural occurring novel skeleton compound isolated from the heartwood of Chamaecyparis obtusa var. formosana. The present study demonstrates that chamaecypanone C induced mitotic arrest through binding to the colchicine-binding site of tubulin, thus preventing tubulin polymerization. In addition, cytotoxic activity of chamaecypanone C in a variety of human tumor cell lines has been ascertained, with IC50 values in nanomolar ranges. Flow cytometric analysis revealed that chamaecypanone C treated human KB cancer cells were arrested in G2-M phases in a time-dependent manner before cell death occurred. Additional studies indicated that the effect of Chamaecypanone C on cell cycle arrest was associated with an increase in cyclin B1 levels and a mobility shift of Cdc2/Cdc25C. The changes in Cdc2 and Cdc25C coincided with the appearance of phosphoepitopes recognized by a marker of mitosis, MPM-2. Interestingly, this compound induced apoptotic cell death through caspase 8-Fas/FasL dependent pathway, instead of mitochondria/caspase 9-dependent pathway. Notably, several KB-derived multidrug resistant cancer cell lines overexpressing P-gp170/MDR and MRP were sensitive to Chamaecypanone C. Taken together, these findings indicated that Chamaecypanone C is a promising anticancer compound that has potential for management of various malignancies, particularly for patients with drug resistance.
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