The dietary phytochemical chlorophyllin alters E-cadherin and beta-catenin expression in human colon cancer cells. Academic Article uri icon


  • Chlorophyllin (CHL), an anticarcinogenic and antimutagenic water-soluble derivative of chlorophyll, has been reported to induce apoptosis in human colon cancer cells via a pathway involving cell differentiation. Induction of differentiation markers may be important in limiting cancer-cell invasion and metastasis, and there is much interest in understanding the underlying mechanisms, because this might provide insights for cancer chemotherapy. In the present study, human HCT116 colon-cancer cells were treated with CHL, and the expression levels of E-cadherin and beta-catenin were examined using immunocytochemistry and laser scanning confocal microscopy. E-cadherin was detected almost exclusively at the cell periphery of cancer cells treated with or without CHL, but the expression of E-cadherin in the plasma membrane was markedly elevated in the cells treated with CHL. beta-Catenin also was strongly expressed in the plasma membrane, especially after CHL treatment. No change in the expression of beta-catenin mRNA was detected across a broad range of CHL concentrations (10-500 micromol/L), but there was a concentration-dependent decrease in nuclear beta-catenin protein levels without overt changes in the cytosolic pool of beta-catenin. Our interpretation of these findings is that CHL induces E-cadherin expression, and this facilitates trafficking of beta-catenin away from the nucleus and into the plasma membrane, possibly for destruction via the adherins junction remodeling (Hakai) pathway.

published proceedings

  • J Nutr

author list (cited authors)

  • Carter, O., Bailey, G. S., & Dashwood, R. H.

citation count

  • 30

complete list of authors

  • Carter, Orianna||Bailey, George S||Dashwood, Roderick H

publication date

  • January 2004