In this study, we investigated the anticancer effect of protopine on human hormone-refractory prostate cancer (HRPC) cells. Protopine exhibited an anti-proliferative effect by induction of tubulin polymerization and mitotic arrest, which ultimately led to apoptotic cell death. The data suggest that protopine increased the activity of cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (Cdk1)/cyclin B1 complex and that contributed to cell apoptosis by modulating mitochondria-mediated signaling pathways, such as Bcl-2 phosphorylation and Mcl-1 down-regulation. In conclusion, the data suggest that protopine is a novel microtubule stabilizer with anticancer activity in HRPC cells through apoptotic pathway by modulating Cdk1 activity and Bcl-2 family of proteins.
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