Alpha-momorcharin (α-MMC), a member of the ribosome-inactivating protein (RIP) family, has been found in the seeds of Momordica charantia (bitter melon). α-MMC contributes a number of pharmacological activities; however, its inflammatory properties have not been well studied. Here, we aim to determine the inflammatory responses induced by recombinant α-MMC and identify the underlying mechanisms using cell culture and animal models. Recombinant α-MMC was generated in Rosetta™(DE3)pLysS and purified by the way of nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA) chromatography. Treatment of recombinant α-MMC at 40 μg/mL exerted sub-lethal cytotoxic effect on THP-1 monocytic cells. Transcriptional profiling revealed that various genes coding for cytokines and other proinflammatory proteins were upregulated upon recombinant α-MMC treatment in THP-1 cells, including MCP-1, IL-8, IL-1β, and TNF-α. Recombinant α-MMC was shown to activate IKK/NF-κB and JNK pathways and the α-MMC-induced inflammatory gene expression could be blocked by IKKβ and JNK inhibitors. Furthermore, murine inflammatory models further demonstrated that α-MMC induced inflammatory responses in vivo. We conclude that α-MMC stimulates inflammatory responses in human monocytes by activating of IKK/NF-κB and JNK pathways, raising the possibility that consumption of α-MMC-containing food may lead to inflammatory-related diseases.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
- Ribosome inactivating protein