Molecular Simulations Identify Target Receptor Kinases Bound by Astaxanthin to Induce Breast Cancer Cell Apoptosis

Main Article Content

Mossa Gardaneh
Zahra Nayeri
Parvin Akbari
Mahsa Gardaneh
Hasan Tahermansouri

Keywords

Breast cancer, Astaxanthin, Apoptosis, Receptor tyrosine kinase

Abstract

Background: We investigated molecular mechanisms behind astaxanthinmediated induction of apoptosis in breast cancer cell lines toward combination therapy against cancer drug resistance.


Methods: Breast cancer cell lines were treated with serial concentrations of astaxanthin to determine its IC50. We used drug-design software to predict interactions between astaxanthin and receptor tyrosine kinases or other key gene products involved in intracellular signaling pathways. Changes in gene expression were examined using RT-PCR. The effect of astaxanthin-nanocarbons combinations on cancer cells was also evaluated.


Results: Astaxanthin induced cell death in all three breast cancer cell lines was examined so that its IC50 in two HER2-amplifying lines SKBR3 and BT-474 stood, respectively, at 36 and 37 ?M; however, this figure for MCF-7 was significantly lowered to 23 ?M (P<0.05). Astaxanthin-treated SKBR3 cells showed apoptotic death upon co-staining. Our in silico examinations showed that some growth-promoting molecules are strongly bound by astaxanthin via their specific amino acid residues with their binding energy standing below -6 KCa/Mol. Next, astaxanthin was combined with either graphene oxide or carboxylated multi-walled carbon nanotube, with the latter affecting SKBR cell survival more extensively than the former (P<0.05). Finally, astaxanthin coinduced tumor suppressors p53 and PTEN but downregulated the expression of growth-inducing genes in treated cells.


Conclusion: These findings indicate astaxanthin carries' multitarget antitumorigenic capacities and introduce the compound as a suitable candidate for combination therapy regimens against cancer growth and drug resistance. Development of animal models to elucidate interactions between the compound and tumor microenvironment could be a major step forward towards the inclusion of astaxanthin in cancer therapy trials.