Carcinoma cells activate AMP-activated protein kinase-dependent autophagy as survival response to kaempferol-mediated energetic impairment

Giuseppe Filomeni, Enrico Desideri, Simone Cardaci, Ilaria Graziani, Sara Piccirillo, Giuseppe Rotilio, Maria R. Ciriolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Kaempferol, a dietary cancer chemopreventive polyphenol, has been reported to trigger apoptosis in several tumor histotypes, but the mechanism underlying this phenomenon is not fully understood. Here, we demonstrate that in HeLa cells, kaempferol induces energetic failure due to inhibition of both glucose uptake and complex I of the mitochondrial respiratory chain. As adaptive response, cells activate autophagy, the occurrence of which was established cytofluorometrically, upon acridine orange staining, and immunochemically, by following the increase of the autolysosome-associated form of the microtubule-associated protein light chain 3 (LC3-II). Autophagy is an early and reversible process occurring as survival mechanisms against apoptosis. Indeed, chemical inhibition of autophagy, by incubations with monensin, wortmannin, 3-methyladenine, or by silencing Atg5, significantly increases the extent of apoptosis, which takes place via the mitochondrial pathway, and shortens the time in which the apoptotic markers are detectable. We also demonstrate that autophagy depends on the early activation of the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK)/mTOR-mediated pathway. The overexpression of dominant negative AMPK results in a decrease of autophagic cells, a decrement of LC3-II levels, and a significant increase of apoptosis. Experiments performed with another carcinoma cell line yielded the same results, suggesting for kaempferol a unique mechanism of action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-216
Number of pages15
JournalAutophagy
Volume6
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 16 2010

Keywords

  • AMPK
  • Apoptosis
  • Autophagy
  • Bio-energetics
  • Glucose uptake
  • Kaempferol
  • Mitochondria
  • mTOR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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