The steady-state level of nucleophosmin/B23 mRNA decreased during berberine-induced (25μg/ml, 24 to 96 hr) apoptosis of human leukemia HL-60 cells. A decline in telomerase activity was also observed in HL-60 cells treated with berberine. A stable clone of nucleophosmin/B23 over-expressed in HL-60 cells was selected and found to be less responsive to berberine-induced apoptosis. About 35% to 63% of control vector–transfected cells (pCR3) exhibited morphological characteristics of apoptosis, while about 8% to 45% of nucleophosmin/B23-over-expressed cells (pCR3-B23) became apoptotic after incubation with 15μg/ml berberine for 48 to 96 hr. DNA extracted from pCR3 cells contained more fragmented DNA than pCR3-B23 cells during treatment with 15μg/ml berberine for 24 to 48 hr. Our results indicate that berberine-induced apoptosis is associated with down-regulation of nucleophosmin/B23 and telomerase activity. We also suggest that nucleophosmin/B23 may play an important role in the control of the cellular response to apoptosis induction.
International Journal of Cancer,Volume 81, Issue 6, pages 923–929