Heteronemin, a spongean sesterterpene, induces cell apoptosis and autophagy in human renal carcinoma cells

Szu Ying Wu, Ping Jyun Sung, Ya Ling Chang, Shiow Lin Pan, Che Ming Teng

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37 Citations (Scopus)


Heteronemin is a bioactive marine sesterterpene isolated from the sponge Hyrtios sp. Previous reports have shown that heteronemin possesses anticancer activity. Here, heteronemin displayed cytotoxic effects against three human cancer cell lines (A549, ACHN, and A498) and exhibited potent activity in A498 human renal carcinoma cells, with an ICvalue of 1.57 M by MTT assay and a GIvalue of 0.77 M by SRB assay. Heteronemin initiates apoptotic cell death by downregulating Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL and upregulating Bax, leading to the disruption of the mitochondrial membrane potential and the release of cytochrome c from the mitochondria. These effects were associated with the activation of caspase-3/caspase-8/caspase-9, followed by PARP cleavage. Furthermore, heteronemin inhibited the phosphorylation of AKT signaling pathway and ERK and activated p38 and JNK. The specific inhibition of the p38 pathway by SB203580 or p38 siRNA treatment reversed the heteronemin-induced cytotoxicity and apoptotic signaling. Heteronemin also induced autophagy in A498 cells, and treatment with chloroquine (autophagy inhibitor) or SP600125 (JNK inhibitor) inhibited autophagy and increased heteronemin-induced cytotoxicity and apoptotic signaling. Taken together, this study proposes a novel treatment paradigm in which the combination of heteronemin and autophagy inhibitors leads to enhanced RCC cell apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number738241
JournalBioMed Research International
Publication statusPublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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