Acharan sulfate (AS), isolated from the giant African snail Achatina fulica, is a novel glycosaminoglycan, consisting primarily of the repeating disaccharide structure a-D-N-acetylglucosaminyl (1→4) 2-sulfoiduronic acid. AS shows anti-tumor activity in vitro and in vivo. Despite this activity, AS is only weakly cytotoxic towards cancer cells. We examine the interactions between AS and cell-surface proteins in an effort to explain this anti-tumor activity. Using flow cytometry and affinity column chromatography, we confirm that AS has strong affinity to specific cell-surface proteins including nucleolin (NL) in A549 human lung adenocarcinomas. Surprisingly, we found the translocation of NL from nucleus to cytoplasm under the stimulation of AS (100 μg/ml) in vitro. Also, as NL exits the nucleus, the levels of growth factors such as bFGF and signaling cascade proteins, such as p38, p53, and pERK, are altered. These results suggest that the communication between AS and NL plays a critical role on signal transduction in tumor inhibition.
- A549 human lung adenocarcinoma
- Acharan sulfate