Honeybee propolis and its bioactive component, caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), are known for a variety of therapeutic potentials. By recruiting a cell-based reporter assay for screening of hypoxia-modulating natural drugs, we identified CAPE as a pro-hypoxia factor. In silico studies were used to probe the capacity of CAPE to interact with potential hypoxia-responsive proteins. CAPE could not dock into hypoxia inducing factor (HIF-1), the master regulator of hypoxia response pathway. On the other hand, it was predicted to bind to factor inhibiting HIF (FIH-1). The active site residue (Asp201) of FIH-1α was involved in hydrogen bond formation with CAPE and its analogue, caffeic acid methyl ester (CAME), especially in the presence of Fe and 2-oxoglutaric acid (OGA). We provide experimental evidence that the low doses of CAPE, that did not cause cytotoxicity or anti-migratory effect, activated HIF-1α and inhibited stress-induced protein aggregation, a common cause of age-related pathologies. Furthermore, by structural homology search, we explored and found candidate compounds that possess stronger FIH-1 binding capacity. These compounds could be promising candidates for modulating therapeutic potential of CAPE, and its recruitment in treatment of protein aggregation-based disorders.
Cell Stress and Chaperones – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 4, 2018
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