Manoalide provides preferential antiproliferation of oral cancer but is non-cytotoxic to normal cells by modulating reactive oxygen species (ROS) and apoptosis. Although ROS interplays with endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and apoptosis, the influence of ER stress on manoalide-triggered apoptosis has not been reported. The role of ER stress in manoalide-induced preferential antiproliferation and apoptosis was assessed in this study. Manoalide induces a higher ER expansion and aggresome accumulation of oral cancer than normal cells. Generally, manoalide differentially influences higher mRNA and protein expressions of ER-stress-associated genes (PERK, IRE1α, ATF6, and BIP) in oral cancer cells than in normal cells. Subsequently, the contribution of ER stress on manoalide-treated oral cancer cells was further examined. ER stress inducer, thapsigargin, enhances the manoalide-induced antiproliferation, caspase 3/7 activation, and autophagy of oral cancer cells rather than normal cells. Moreover, N-acetylcysteine, an ROS inhibitor, reverses the responses of ER stress, aggresome formation, and the antiproliferation of oral cancer cells. Consequently, the preferential ER stress of manoalide-treated oral cancer cells is crucial for its antiproliferative effect.
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