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Solenopsin, the alkaloidal component of the fire ant (Solenopsis invicta), is a naturally occurring inhibitor of phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase signaling and angiogenesis. Blood 2007 Jan 15;109(2):560-5



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Phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K), and its downstream effector Akt, or protein kinase Balpha (PKBalpha), play a major regulatory role in control of apoptosis, proliferation, and angiogenesis. PI3K and Akt are amplified or overexpressed in a number of malignancies, including sarcomas, ovarian cancer, multiple myeloma, and melanoma. This pathway regulates production of the potent angiogenic factor vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and protects tumor cells against both chemotherapy and reactive oxygen-induced apoptosis through phosphorylation of substrates such as apoptotic peptidase-activating factor-1 (APAF-1), forkhead proteins, and caspase 9. Given its diverse actions, compounds that suppress the PI3K/Akt pathway have potential pharmacologic utility as angiogenesis inhibitors and antineoplastic agents. Using the SVR angiogenesis assay, a screen of natural products, we isolated the alkaloid solenopsin, and found that it is a potent angiogenesis inhibitor. We also found that solenopsin inhibits the PI3K signaling pathway in cells upstream of PI3K, which may underlie its affects on angiogenesis. Consistent with inhibition of the activation of PI3K, solenopsin prevented the phosphorylation of Akt and the phosphorylation of its substrate forkhead box 01a (FOXO1a), a member of the forkhead family of transcription factors. Interestingly, solenopsin also inhibited Akt-1 activity in an ATP-competitive manner in vitro without affecting 27 of 28 other protein kinases tested.

Author List

Arbiser JL, Kau T, Konar M, Narra K, Ramchandran R, Summers SA, Vlahos CJ, Ye K, Perry BN, Matter W, Fischl A, Cook J, Silver PA, Bain J, Cohen P, Whitmire D, Furness S, Govindarajan B, Bowen JP


Ramani Ramchandran PhD Professor in the Pediatrics department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Cell Line
Embryo, Nonmammalian
Endothelial Cells
Enzyme Activation
Molecular Structure
Neovascularization, Physiologic
Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
Protein Kinase Inhibitors
Protein Kinases
Signal Transduction
jenkins-FCD Prod-484 8aa07fc50b7f6d102f3dda2f4c7056ff84294d1d