Avicins, a family of triterpenoid saponins from Acacia victoriae (Bentham), inhibit activation of nuclear factor-κB by inhibiting both its nuclear localization and ability to bind DNA

Valsala Haridas, Charles J. Arntzen, Jordan U. Gutterman

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Triterpenoid saponins, which are present in leguminous plants and some marine animals, possess a broad range of biological actions. We have earlier reported the extraction of avicins, a family of triterpenoid saponins obtained from the Australian desert tree Acacia victoriae (Leguminosae: Mimosoideae) that inhibit tumor cell growth and induce apoptosis, in part, by perturbing mitochondrial function. These saponins have also been found to prevent chemical-induced carcinogenesis in mice. This study examines the effect of a triterpene mixture (F094) and a single molecular species (avicin G) isolated from the mixture on tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-induced activation of nuclear transcription factor-κB (NF-κB) in Jurkat cells (human T cell leukemia). Both F094 and avicin G were found to be potent inhibitors of TNF-induced NF-κB. Treatment of Jurkat cells with avicin G resulted in a much slower accumulation of the p65 subunit of NF-κB into the nucleus whereas the degradation of IκBα was unaffected. Avicin G also impaired the binding of NF-κB to DNA in in vitro binding assays. Treatment of cells with DTT totally reversed the avicin G-induced inhibition of NF-κB activity, suggesting that sulfhydryl groups critical for NF-κB activation were being affected. Avicin G treatment resulted in decreased expression of NF-κB-regulated proteins such as inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase (COX-2). Thus, the avicins may prove important for reducing both oxidative and nitrosative cellular stress and thereby suppressing the development of malignancies and related diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11557-11562
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number20
StatePublished - Sep 25 2001


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