Fluorinated Cpd 5, a pure arylating K-vitamin derivative, inhibits human hepatoma cell growth by inhibiting Cdc25 and activating MAPK

Siddhartha Kar, Meifang Wang, Seung Wook Ham, Brian I. Carr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We previously synthesized several K-vitamin derivatives, which are potent growth inhibitors of human tumor cells, including Hep3B human hepatoma cells. Among these, Cpd 5 was the most potent. However, being a quinone derivative, Cpd 5 has the potential for generating toxic reactive oxygen species (ROS). We therefore synthesized a fluorinated derivative of Cpd 5, F-Cpd 5. The calculated reduction potential of F-Cpd 5 was much higher than that for Cpd 5 and it was not predicted to generate ROS. This was supported by our observation that F-Cpd 5 generated significantly lower ROS than Cpd 5. F-Cpd 5 was three times more potent than Cpd 5 in inhibiting Hep3B cell growth. Interestingly, under identical culture conditions, F-Cpd 5 inhibited mitogen-induced DNA synthesis in normal rat hepatocytes 12-fold less potently than Hep3B cells. F-Cpd 5 was found to induce caspase-3 cleavage and nuclear DNA laddering, evidences for apoptosis. It preferentially inhibited the activities of the cell cycle controlling phosphatases Cdc25A and Cdc25B, by binding to their catalytic cysteines. Consequently, inhibitory tyrosine phosphorylation of the Cdc25 substrate kinases Cdk2 and Cdk4 were induced. F-Cpd 5 also induced phosphorylation of the MAPK proteins ERK1/2, JNK1/2 and p38 in Hep3B cells and the MAPK inhibitors (U0126, JNKI-II, and SB 203580) antagonized its growth inhibition. F-Cpd 5 inhibited the action of cytosolic ERK phosphatase activity, which likely caused the ERK phosphorylation. F-Cpd 5 thus differentially inhibited growth of normal and tumor cells by preferentially inhibiting the actions of Cdc25A and Cdc25B phosphatases and inducing MAPK phosphorylation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1217-1227
Number of pages11
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Nov 15 2006


  • Cdc25
  • Cell cycle inhibition
  • K-vitamin derivative
  • Liver cancer
  • MAPK
  • Protein phosphatase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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