Honors Theses

Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery

First Advisor

Asok Dasmahapatra

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

In previous experiments, the steroidal saponin, dioscin, which was extracted from the roots of the wild yam (Dioscorea villosa), was observed to have potent anti-proliferative effects on the human breast cancer cell lines MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231. Dioscin was also able to activate the transcription of tumor suppressor genes GATA3 and CDH1 in these cell lines. We hypothesize that the anti-proliferative effect of dioscin on human breast cancer cells could be mediated through the epigenome. Consequently, in order to explore this hypothesis, we have analyzed the expression of DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) protein in these cells. MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells were treated with differing concentrations of dioscin, as well as a 1μM concentration of the known DNMT1 inhibitor, 5-azacytidine. Protein lysate was collected from these cells and was then subjected to Western blot analysis. Both dioscin and 5-azacytidine decreased protein expression of the DNMT isoform with a molecular weight of 145 kDa. It may be concluded that dioscin has potential DNMT1 inhibiting ability, but whether or not this ability directly contributes to dioscin's anti-proliferative effects and the activation of the tumor suppressor genes GATA3 and CDH1 remains to be seen.

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