Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Identification of molecular pathways affected by pterostilbene, a natural dimethylether analog of resveratrol

Zhiqiang Pan1*, Ameeta K Agarwal2, Tao Xu2, Qin Feng2, Scott R Baerson1, Stephen O Duke1 and Agnes M Rimando1

Author Affiliations

1 United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Natural Products Utilization Research Unit, University, Mississippi 38677, USA

2 National Center for Natural Products Research, School of Pharmacy, University of Mississippi, University, Mississippi, 38677, USA

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BMC Medical Genomics 2008, 1:7  doi:10.1186/1755-8794-1-7

Published: 20 March 2008

Abstract

Background

Pterostilbene, a naturally occurring phenolic compound produced by agronomically important plant genera such as Vitis and Vacciunium, is a phytoalexin exhibiting potent antifungal activity. Additionally, recent studies have demonstrated several important pharmacological properties associated with pterostilbene. Despite this, a systematic study of the effects of pterostilbene on eukaryotic cells at the molecular level has not been previously reported. Thus, the aim of the present study was to identify the cellular pathways affected by pterostilbene by performing transcript profiling studies, employing the model yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Methods

S. cerevisiae strain S288C was exposed to pterostilbene at the IC50 concentration (70 μM) for one generation (3 h). Transcript profiling experiments were performed on three biological replicate samples using the Affymetrix GeneChip Yeast Genome S98 Array. The data were analyzed using the statistical methods available in the GeneSifter microarray data analysis system. To validate the results, eleven differentially expressed genes were further examined by quantitative real-time RT-PCR, and S. cerevisiae mutant strains with deletions in these genes were analyzed for altered sensitivity to pterostilbene.

Results

Transcript profiling studies revealed that pterostilbene exposure significantly down-regulated the expression of genes involved in methionine metabolism, while the expression of genes involved in mitochondrial functions, drug detoxification, and transcription factor activity were significantly up-regulated. Additional analyses revealed that a large number of genes involved in lipid metabolism were also affected by pterostilbene treatment.

Conclusion

Using transcript profiling, we have identified the cellular pathways targeted by pterostilbene, an analog of resveratrol. The observed response in lipid metabolism genes is consistent with its known hypolipidemic properties, and the induction of mitochondrial genes is consistent with its demonstrated role in apoptosis in human cancer cell lines. Furthermore, our data show that pterostilbene has a significant effect on methionine metabolism, a previously unreported effect for this compound.