Single molecule force spectroscopy for in-situ probing oridonin inhibited ROS-mediated EGF-EGFR interactions in living KYSE-150 cells

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As the active anticancer component of Rabdosia Rubescens, oridonin has been proved to show strong anticancer activity in cancer cells, which is also found to be closely related to its specific inhibition effects on the EGFR tyrosine kinase activity. In this study, atomic force microscopy based single molecule force spectroscopy (AFM-SMFS) was used for real-time and in-situ detection of EGF-EGFR interactions in living esophageal cancer KYSE-150 cells to evaluate the anticancer activity of oridonin for the first time. Oridonin was found to induce apoptosis and also reduce EGFR expression in KYSE-150 cells. AFM-SMFS results demonstrated that oridonin could inhibit the binding between EGF and EGFR in KYSE-150 cells by decreasing the unbinding force and binding probability for EGF-EGFR complexes, which was further proved to be closely associated with the intracellular ROS level. More precise mechanism studies based on AFM-SMFS demonstrated that oridonin treatment could decrease the energy barrier width, increase the dissociation off rate constant and decrease the activation energy of EGF-EGFR complexes in ROS dependent way, suggesting oridonin as a strong anticancer agent targeting EGF-EGFR interactions in cancer cells through ROS dependent mechanism. Our results not only suggested oridonin as a strong anticancer agent targeting EGF-EGFR interactions in ROS dependent mechanism, but also highlighted AFM-SMFS as a powerful technique for pharmacodynamic studies by detecting ligand-receptor interactions, which was also expected to be developed into a promising tool for the screening and mechanism studies of drugs.

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