Chalcones are biologically active class of compounds, known for their anticancer activities. Here we show for the first time that out of the six synthetic derivatives of chalcone tested, 2′‐hydroxy‐retrochalcone (HRC) was the most effective in inducing extensive cytoplasmic vacuolation mediated death called paraptosis in malignant breast and cervical cancer cells. The cell death by HRC is found to be nonapoptotic in nature due to the absence of DNA fragmentation, PARP cleavage, and phosphatidylserine externalization. It was also found to be nonautophagic as there was an increase in the levels of autophagic markers LC3I, LC3II and p62. Immunofluorescence with the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) marker protein calreticulin showed that the cytoplasmic vacuoles formed were derived from the ER. This ER dilation was due to ER stress as evidenced from the increase in polyubiquitinated proteins, Bip and CHOP. Docking studies revealed that HRC could bind to the Thr1 residue on the active site of the chymotrypsin‐like subunit of the proteasome. The inhibition of proteasomal activity was further confirmed by the fluorescence based assay of the chymotrypsin‐like subunit of the 26S proteasome. The cell death by HRC was also triggered by the collapse of mitochondrial membrane potential and depletion of ATP. Pretreatment with thiol antioxidants and cycloheximide were able to inhibit this programmed cell death. Thus our data suggest that HRC can effectively kill cancer cells via paraptosis, an alternative death pathway and can be a potential lead molecule for anticancer therapy.
Divya Nedungadi, Anupama Binoy, Nanjan Pandurangan, Dr. Bipin G. Nair, and Dr. Nandita Mishra, “Proteasomal dysfunction and ER stress triggers 2′‐hydroxy‐retrochalcone‐induced paraptosis in cancer cells”, Cell Biology International, 2020.