Anticancer Chemodiversity of Ranunculaceae Medicinal Plants: Molecular Mechanisms and Functions

Author(s): Da-Cheng Hao, Chun-Nian He, Jie Shen, Pei-Gen Xiao

Journal Name: Current Genomics

Volume 18 , Issue 1 , 2017

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Graphical Abstract:


The buttercup family, Ranunculaceae, comprising more than 2,200 species in at least 62 genera, mostly herbs, has long been used in folk medicine and worldwide ethnomedicine since the beginning of human civilization. Various medicinal phytometabolites have been found in Ranunculaceae plants, many of which, such as alkaloids, terpenoids, saponins, and polysaccharides, have shown anticancer activities in vitro and in vivo. Most concerns have been raised for two epiphany molecules, the monoterpene thymoquinone and the isoquinoline alkaloid berberine. At least 17 genera have been enriched with anti-cancer phytometabolites. Some Ranunculaceae phytometabolites induce the cell cycle arrest and apoptosis of cancer cells or enhance immune activities, while others inhibit the proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis, and metastasis, or reverse the multi-drug resistance of cancer cells thereby regulating all known hallmarks of cancer. These phytometabolites could exert their anti-cancer activities via multiple signaling pathways. In addition, absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion/toxicity properties and structure/activity relationships of some phytometabolites have been revealed assisting in the early drug discovery and development pipelines. However, a comprehensive review of the molecular mechanisms and functions of Ranunculaceae anti-cancer phytometabolites is lacking. Here, we summarize the recent progress of the anti-cancer chemo- and pharmacological diversity of Ranunculaceae medicinal plants, focusing on the emerging molecular machineries and functions of anti-cancer phytometabolites. Gene expression profiling and relevant omics platforms (e.g. genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics) could reveal differential effects of phytometabolites on the phenotypically heterogeneous cancer cells.

Keywords: Ranunculaceae phytometabolites, Anticancer activity, Molecular mechanism, Genomics.

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Article Details

Year: 2017
Published on: 13 December, 2016
Page: [39 - 59]
Pages: 21
DOI: 10.2174/1389202917666160803151752
Price: $65

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