Lectin of Abelmoschus esculentus (okra) promotes selective antitumor effects in human breast cancer cells
OBJECTIVES Recently, plant lectins have attracted great interest due to their various biological activities such as anti-cancer, anti-fungal and anti-viral activities. We have reported earlier concerning anti-proliferation of human cancer cell lines by a galactose-binding lectin (AML), from a Chinese herb, ASTRAGALUS MEMBRANACEUS: In the present study, detailed investigations into the mechanism of such anti-proliferation properties have been carried out. MATERIALS AND METHODS Mechanism of apoptosis initiation in K562 cells by AML was investigated by morphology, flow cytometry and western blot analysis. RESULTS AML induced apoptosis in a caspase-dependent manner in the chronic myeloid leukemia cell line, K562. Furthermore, we observed that cytotoxicity and apoptosis of K562 cells induced by AML were completely abolished in presence of lactose or galactose. CONCLUSIONS Our results suggest that AML could act as a potential anti-cancer drug.