Hydroxamate derivatives have attracted considerable attention due to their broad pharmacological properties and have been extensively investigated. We recently demonstrated that WMJ-S-001, a novel aliphatic hydroxamate derivative, exhibits anti-inflammatory and anti-angiogenic activities. In this study, we explored the underlying mechanisms by which WMJ-S-001 induces HCT116 colorectal cancer cell death. WMJ-S-001 inhibited cell proliferation and induced cell apoptosis in HCT116 cells. These actions were associated with AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation, p53 phosphorylation and acetylation, as well as the modulation of p21 cip/Waf1, cyclin D1, survivin and Bax. AMPK-p38MAPK signaling blockade reduced WMJ-S-001-induced p53 phosphorylation. Transfection with AMPK dominant negative mutant (DN) reduced WMJ-S-001 s effects on p53 and Sp1 binding to the survivn promoter region. Transfection with HDAC3-Flag or HDAC4-Flag also abrogated WMJ-S-001 s enhancing effect on p53 acetylation. WMJ-S-001 s actions on p21 cip/Waf1, cyclin D1, survivin, Bax were reduced in p53-null HCT116 cells. Furthermore, WMJ-S-001 was shown to suppress the growth of subcutaneous xenografts of HCT116 cells in vivo. In summary, the death of HCT116 colorectal cancer cells exposed to WMJ-S-001 may involve AMPK-p38MAPK-p53-survivin cascade. These results support the role of WMJ-S-001 as a potential drug candidate and warrant the clinical development in the treatment of cancer.
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