Withaferin A suppresses the up-regulation of acetyl-coA carboxylase 1 and skin tumor formation in a skin carcinogenesis mouse model

Wenjuan Li, Chunjing Zhang, Hongyan Du, Vincent Huang, Brandi Sun, John P. Harris, Quitin Richardson, Xinggui Shen, Rong Jin, Guohong Li, Christopher G. Kevil, Xin Gu, Runhua Shi, Yunfeng Zhao

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33 Scopus citations


Withaferin A (WA), a natural product derived from Withania somnifera, has been used in traditional oriental medicines to treat neurological disorders. Recent studies have demonstrated that this compound may have a potential for cancer treatment and a clinical trial has been launched to test WA in treating melanoma. Herein, WA's chemopreventive potential was tested in a chemically-induced skin carcinogenesis mouse model. Pathological examinations revealed that WA significantly suppressed skin tumor formation. Morphological observations of the skin tissues suggest that WA suppressed cell proliferation rather than inducing apoptosis during skin carcinogenesis. Antibody Micro array analysis demonstrated that WA blocked carcinogen-induced up-regulation of acetyl-CoA carboxylase 1 (ACC1), which was further confirmed in a skin cell transformation model. Overexpression of ACC1 promoted whereas knockdown of ACC1 suppressed anchorage-independent growth and oncogene activation of transformable skin cells. Further studies demonstrated that WA inhibited tumor promotor-induced ACC1 gene transcription by suppressing the activation of activator protein 1. In melanoma cells, WA was also able to suppress the expression levels of ACC1. Finally, results using human skin cancer tissues confirmed the up-regulation of ACC1 in tumors than adjacent normal tissues. In summary, our results suggest that withaferin A may have a potential in chemoprevention and ACC1 may serve as a critical target of WA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1739-1746
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Carcinogenesis
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research


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