Inhibition of oncogenic BRAF activity by indole-3-carbinol disrupts microphthalmia-associated transcription factor expression and arrests melanoma cell proliferation.
Mol Carcinog. 2017 01 ;56(1):49-61. Epub 2016 Feb 15. PMID: 26878440
Indole-3-carbinol (I3C), an anti-cancer phytochemical derived from cruciferous vegetables, strongly inhibited proliferation and down-regulated protein levels of the melanocyte master regulator micropthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF-M) in oncogenic BRAF-V600E expressing melanoma cells in culture as well as in vivo in tumor xenografted athymic nude mice. In contrast, wild type BRAF-expressing melanoma cells remained relatively insensitive to I3C anti-proliferative signaling. In BRAF-V600E-expressing melanoma cells, I3C treatment inhibited phosphorylation of MEK and ERK/MAPK, the down stream effectors of BRAF. The I3C anti-proliferative arrest was concomitant with the down-regulation of MITF-M transcripts and promoter activity, loss of endogenous BRN-2 binding to the MITF-M promoter, and was strongly attenuated by expression of exogenous MITF-M. Importantly, in vitro kinase assays using immunoprecipitated BRAF-V600E and wild type BRAF demonstrated that I3C selectively inhibited the enzymatic activity of the oncogenic BRAF-V600E but not of the wild type protein. In silico modeling predicted an I3C interaction site in the BRAF-V600E protomer distinct from where the clinically used BRAF-V600E inhibitor Vemurafenib binds to BRAF-V600E. Consistent with this prediction, combinations of I3C and Vemurafenib more potently inhibited melanoma cell proliferation and reduced MITF-M levels in BRAF-V600E expressing melanoma cells compared to the effects of each compound alone. Thus, our results demonstrate that oncogenic BRAF-V600E is a new cellular target of I3C that implicate this indolecarbinol compound as a potential candidate for novel single or combination therapies for melanoma.© 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.