Antitumor effects of berberine against EGFR, ERK1/2, P38 and AKT in MDA-MB231 and MCF-7 breast cancer cells using molecular modelling and in vitro study.
Pharmacol Rep. 2018 Aug 1 ;71(1):13-23. Epub 2018 Aug 1. PMID: 30343043
Parham Jabbarzadeh Kaboli
BACKGROUND: Berberine is an alkaloid plant-based DNA intercalator that affects gene regulation, particularly expression of oncogenic and tumor suppressor proteins. The effects of berberine on different signaling proteins remains to be elucidated. The present study aimed to identify the effects of berberine against key oncogenic proteins in breast cancer cells.
METHODS: Molecular docking and molecular dynamics simulations were used for EGFR, p38, ERK1/2, and AKT. The effects of berberine and lapatinib on MAPK and PI3K pathways in MDA-MB231 and MCF-7 cells were evaluated using immunoflorescence assays, and the amounts of phosphorylated kinases were compared to total kinases after treating with different concentrations of berberine.
RESULTS: Simulations showed berberine accurately interacted with EGFR, AKT, P38, and ERK1/2 active sites in silico (scores = -7.57 to -7.92 Kcal/mol) and decreased the levels of active forms of corresponding enzymes in both cell lines; however, berberine binding to p38 showed less stability. Cytotoxicity analysis indicated that MDA-MB231 cells were resistant to berberine compared to MCF-7 cells [72 h IC = 50 versus 15 μM, respectively). Also, lapatinib strongly activated AKT but suppressed EGFR in MDA-MB231 cells. The activity of EGFR, AKT, P38, and ERK1/2 were affected by berberine; however, berberine dramatically reduced EGFR and AKT phosphorylation.
CONCLUSION: By way of its multikinase inhibitory effects, berberine might be a useful replacement for lapatinib, an EGFR inhibitor which can cause acquired drug resistance in patients.