Indexed on: 03 Dec '14Published on: 03 Dec '14Published in: Biochemistry insights
Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is an oncogenic transcription factor that has been implicated in many human cancers and has emerged as an ideal target for cancer therapy. Withaferin A (WFA) is a natural product with promising antiproliferative properties through its association with a number of molecular targets including STAT3. However, the effect of WFA in pediatric neuroblastoma (NB) and its interaction with STAT3 have not been reported. In this study, we found that WFA effectively induces dose-dependent cell death in high-risk and drug-resistant NB as well as multiple myeloma (MM) tumor cells, prevented interleukin-6 (IL-6)-mediated and persistently activated STAT3 phosphorylation at Y705, and blocked the transcriptional activity of STAT3. We further provide computational models that show that WFA binds STAT3 near the Y705 phospho-tyrosine residue of the STAT3 Src homology 2 (SH2) domain, suggesting that WFA prevents STAT3 dimer formation similar to BP-1-102, a well-established STAT3 inhibitor. Our findings propose that the antitumor activity of WFA is mediated at least in part through inhibition of STAT3 and provide a rationale for further drug development and clinical use in NB and MM.