Isolation of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) inhibitors from frankincense using a molecularly imprinted polymer
Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1 (HIF-1), a transcriptional activator, is highly involved in the pathology of cancer. Inhibition of HIF-1 retards tumor growth and enhances treatment efficiency when used in combination with chemo- or radiation therapy. The recent validation of HIF-1 as an important drug target in cancer treatment has stimulated efforts to identify and isolate natural or synthetic HIF-1 inhibitors. In the present study, quercetin, a known inhibitor of HIF-1, was imprinted in a polymer matrix in order to prepare a Molecularly Imprinted Polymer (MIP), which was subsequently used for the selective isolation of new inhibitors from frankincense, a gum resin used as anticancer remedy in traditional medicine. The frankincense components isolated by Solid Phase Extraction on MIP (MIP-SPE), efficiently inhibited the transcriptional activity of HIF-1 and decreased the protein levels of HIF-1 alpha, the regulated subunit of HIF-1. The selective retention of acetyl 11-ketoboswellic acid (AKBA, one of the main bioactive components of frankincense) by MIP led to the revealing of its inhibitory activity on the HIF-1 signaling pathway. AKBA was selectively retained by SPE on the quercetin imprinted polymer, with an imprinting effect of 8.1 +/- 4.6. Overall, this study demonstrates the potential of MIP application in the screening, recognition and isolation of new bioactive compounds that aim selected molecular targets, a potential that has been poorly appreciated until.