Several medicinal plants can be employed to produce extracts exhibiting biological effects. The aim of this work was to verify the ability of extracts derived from different medicinal plants of Bangladesh in interfering with specific DNA-protein interactions. The rationale for this study is based on the observation that alteration of gene transcription represents a very promising approach to control the expression of selected genes and could be obtained using different molecules acting on the interactions between DNA and transcription factors (TFs). We have analysed the antiproliferative activity of extracts from the medicinal plants Hemidesmus indicus, Polyalthia longifolia, Aphanamixis polystachya, Moringa oleifera, Lagerstroemia speciosa, Paederia foetida, Cassia sophera, Hygrophila auriculata and Ocimum sanctum. Antiproliferative activity was assayed on different human cell lines, including erythroleukemia K562, Blymphoid Raji, T-lymphoid Jurkat and erythroleukemia HEL cell lines. We employed the electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) as a suitable technique for the identification of plant extracts altering the binding between transcription factors and the specific DNA elements. We found that low concentrations of Hemidesmus indicus, Polyalthia longifolia, Moringa oleifera and Lagerstroemia speciosa, and very low concentrations of Aphanamixis polystachya extracts inhibit the interactions between nuclear factors and target DNA elements mimicking sequences recognized by the nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kB). On the contrary, high amount of extracts from Paederia foetida, Cassia sophera, Hygrophila auriculata or Ocimum sanctum were unable to inhibit NF-kB/DNA interactions. Extracts inhibiting both NF-kB binding activity and tumor cell growth might be a source for anti-tumor compounds, while extracts inhibiting NF-kB/DNA interactions with lower effects on cell growth, could be of interest in the search of compounds active in inflammatory diseases, for which inhibition of NF-kB binding activity without toxic effects should be obtained.
Department of Biochemistryand Molecular Biology, Ferrara University, Via L. Borsari, 46, 44100Ferrara, Italy.