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Biochemical and biophysical research communications

Polymethoxylated flavones potentiate the cytolytic activity of NK leukemia cell line KHYG-1 via enhanced expression of granzyme B.


PMID 25511703

Abstract

Polymethoxylated flavones (PMFs) are found in the peel tissues of some citrus species. Here, we report that PMFs, such as nobiletin, potentiate the cytolytic activity of KHYG-1 natural killer (NK) leukemia cells. Nobiletin markedly enhanced the expression of granzyme B, a serine protease that plays critical roles in the cytolytic activity of NK cells. The potentiated cytolytic activity induced by nobiletin was canceled by the granzyme B inhibitor Z-AAD-CMK. Nobiletin also increased the levels of phosphorylated CREB, ERK1/2, and p38 MAPK in KHYG-1 cells, which are known to participate in NK cell function. Inhibition of an upstream kinase of ERK1/2 failed to reduce the granzyme B expression and KHYG-1 cytolytic activity. Meanwhile, inhibition of p38 MAPK attenuated both granzyme B expression and KHYG-1 cytolytic activity. These results suggest that the primary role of nobiletin in KHYG-1 cytolytic activity lies in upregulation of granzyme B expression, at least in part, mediated through p38 MAPK function.