The international journal of biochemistry & cell biology

Endoplasmic reticulum stress underlying the pro-apoptotic effect of epigallocatechin gallate in mouse hepatoma cells.

PMID 18765294


It has been recently reported that tea flavanols, including epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), efficiently inhibit glucosidase II in liver microsomes. Since glucosidase II plays a central role in glycoprotein processing and quality control in the endoplasmic reticulum we investigated the possible contribution of endoplasmic reticulum stress and unfolded protein response (UPR) to the pro-apoptotic activity of EGCG in mouse hepatoma cells. The enzyme activity measurements using 4-methylumbelliferyl-alpha-d-glucopyranoside substrate confirmed the inhibition of glucosidase II in intact and alamethicin-permeabilized cells. EGCG treatment caused a progressive elevation of apoptotic activity as assessed by annexin staining. The induction of CHOP/GADD153, the cleavage of procaspase-12 and the increasing phosphorylation of eIF2alpha were revealed in these cells by Western blot analysis while the induction of endoplasmic reticulum chaperones and foldases was not observed. Time- and concentration-dependent depletion of the endoplasmic reticulum calcium stores was also demonstrated in the EGCG-treated cells by single-cell fluorescent detection. The massive alterations in the endoplasmic reticulum morphology revealed by fluorescent microscopy further supported the development of UPR. Collectively, our results indicate that EGCG interferes with protein processing in the endoplasmic reticulum presumably due to inhibition of glucosidase II and that the stress induces an incomplete unfolded protein response with dominantly pro-apoptotic components.