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Could A Little Ginger Help Fight Cancer?

Ginger. As a spice, you may love it, or detest it. In either case, some recent research may make you reconsider it. Zerumbone is a natural product found in the Ginger plant, Zingiber zerumbet, and is chemically defined as an electrophilic sesquiterpene. Biologically, Zerumbone displays anti-inflammatory properties, and has undergone a great deal of investigation in the past decade for its chemopreventive and therapeutic potential in cancer. In their recent publication in Biochemical & Biophysical Research Communications, Dr. Akira Murakami from the Division of Food Science and Biotechnology at Kyoto University and his team furthered this knowledge by demonstrating the effect of Zerumbone exposure on protein homeostasis (proteostasis) mechanisms. Zerumbone displays substantial proteotoxicity in live cells, inducing aggresome formation and protein ubiquitination (the former measured using Enzo’s ProteoStat® aggresome detection kit). However, this toxicity was balanced by the induction of intracellular proteolysis mechanisms involving the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) and up-regulation of pro-autophagic genes including p62. Mouse liver cells pre-treated with Zerumbone showed increased resistance to strong biological stress from 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal (HNE), a lipid peroxidation product, in a p62-dependent manner. The authors suggest the mild proteotoxic stress from Zerumbone acts in a protective fashion by up-regulating pro-survival pathways such as autophagy. Perhaps a little bit of stress can go a long way toward preventing disease?

Enzo Life Sciences enables scientists to study the effects of natural compounds such as Zerumbone on cells, including an extensive selection of natural products for purchase individually or in compound library format, as well as the definitive collection of cell analysis tools for proteostasis and autophagy, some of which are described in the table below:

 

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