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Concurrent inhibition of enzymatic activity and NF-Y-mediated transcription of Topoisomerase-IIα by bis-DemethoxyCurcumin in cancer cells

Cell Death and Disease
Nature Publishing Group
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1038/cddis.2013.287
  • Original Article
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Topoisomerases-IIα (TOP2A) enzyme is essential for cell viability due to its fundamental role in DNA metabolism and in chromatin organization during interphase and mitosis. TOP2A expression is finely regulated at the transcriptional level through the binding of the CCAAT-transcription factor NF-Y to its promoter. Overexpression and/or amplification of TOP2A have been observed in many types of cancers. For this reason, TOP2A is the target of the most widely successful drugs in cancer chemotherapy, such as TOP2A poisons, which stabilize TOP2A-DNA cleavage complexes and create DSBs, leading to chromosome damage and cell death. We previously reported that the Curcumin-derivative bis-DemethoxyCurcumin (bDMC) is an anti-proliferative agent that inhibits cell growth by concomitant G1/S and G2/M arrest. Here we showed that bDMC irreversibly induces DSBs in cancer cells, but not in normal cells, by targeting TOP2A activity and expression. TOP2A ablation by siRNA corroborates its contribution to apoptosis induced by bDMC. Short-term exposure to bDMC induces retention of TOP2A-DNA intermediates, while longer exposure inhibits TOP2A transcription by affecting expression and sub-cellular localization of NF-Y subunits. ChIP analysis highlighted reduced recruitment of NF-Y to TOP2A regulatory regions, concomitantly to histone deacetylation and decreased gene transcription. Our findings suggest that the dual activity of bDMC on TOP2A represents a novel therapeutic strategy to induce persistent apoptosis in cancer cells and identify NF-Y regulation as a promising approach in anti-cancer therapy.

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