NPRL-Z-1 is a 4b -[(4″-benzamido)-amino]-4′-0-demethyl-epipodophyllotoxin derivative. Previous reports have shown that NPRL-Z-1 possesses anticancer activity. Here NPRL-Z-1 displayed cytotoxic effects against four human cancer cell lines (HCT 116, A549, ACHN, and A498) and exhibited potent activity in A498 human renal carcinoma cells, with an IC50 value of 2.38 μM via the MTT assay. We also found that NPRL-Z-1 induced cell cycle arrest in G1-phase and detected DNA double-strand breaks in A498 cells. NPRL-Z-1 induced ataxia telangiectasia-mutated (ATM) protein kinase phosphorylation at serine 1981, leading to the activation of DNA damage signaling pathways, including Chk2, histone H2AX, and p53/p21. By ICE assay, the data suggested that NPRL-Z-1 acted on and stabilized the topoisomerase II (TOP2)-DNA complex, leading to TOP2cc formation. NPRL-Z-1-induced DNA damage signaling and apoptotic death was also reversed by TOP2α or TOP2bβ knockdown. In addition, NPRL-Z-1 inhibited the Akt signaling pathway and induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. These results demonstrated that NPRL-Z-1 appeared to be a novel TOP2 poison and ROS generator. Thus, NPRL-Z-1 may present a significant potential anticancer candidate against renal carcinoma.
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