Natural autophagy blockers, dauricine (DAC) and daurisoline (DAS), sensitize cancer cells to camptothecin-induced toxicity

Ming Yue Wu, Sheng Fang Wang, Cui Zan Cai, Jie Qiong Tan, Min LI, Jin Jian Lu, Xiu Ping Chen, Yi Tao Wang, Wei Zheng, Jia Hong Lu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Autophagy is a cellular bulk degradation pathway implicated in various diseases. Inhibition of autophagy has been regarded as a new therapeutic strategy for cancer treatment, especially in combination with chemotherapy. In our study, we identified two natural compounds, dauricine (DAC) and daurisoline (DAS), as two potent autophagy blockers through a high-content screening. DAC and DAS are alkaloids isolated from traditional Chinese medicine Rhizoma Menispermi. We systematically examined the effects of DAC and DAS on autophagy function in HeLa cells and found that DAC and DAS induced massive formation of autophagic vacuoles and lipidation of LC3. The accumulation of autophagic vacuoles and LC3 lipidation are due to blockage of autophagosome maturation as evidenced by interrupted colocalization of autophagsosome and lysosome, increased GFP-LC3/RFP-LC3 ratio and accumulation of autophagic substrate p62. Moreover, DAC and DAS impaired lysosomal function, as indicated by reduced lysosomal protease activity and increased lysosomal pH values. Importantly, we showed that DAC and DAS strongly inhibited the lysosome V-type ATPase activity. For the therapeutic potential, we found that DAC and DAS blocked the campothecin (CPT)-induced protective autophagy in HeLa cells, and dramatically sensitized the multiple cancer cells to CPT-induced cell death. In conclusion, our result shows that DAC and DAS are autophagy inhibitors which inhibit the lysosomal degradation of auophagic vacuoles, and sensitize the CPT-induced cancer cell death. The study implies the therapeutic potential of DAC and DAS in the treatment of cancers in combination of chemotherapy by inhibiting autophagy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77673-77684
Number of pages12
Issue number44
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Oncology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Autophagy blocker
  • Cancer cells
  • Cell toxicity
  • Dauricine
  • Daurisoline


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