HT-29 colon cancer cells (American Type Culture Collection (ATCC), Manassas, VA), carrying mutation in tumor suppressor p53, and HCT116, with wild type p53, were grown in McCoy's 5A medium (Sigma-Aldrich, Saint Louis, MO) containing 10% FBS (Gibco) at 37°C and 5% CO2. Monolayers were kept in McCoy's 5A media without serum for 20-24 h before experiments.
To examine the effects of genistein on proliferation, cells were incubated with 10-150 μM genistein (LC Laboratories, Woburn, MA) for 48 hours. To examine the effects of genistein on induced FOXO3 phosphorylation, translocation, interaction with p53, and binding to p27kip1 promoter, monolayers were treated with EGF (100 ng/ml) (Sigma-Aldrich) with and without mild concentration of genistein (50 μM) for 48 hours [21, 22]. During EGF and genistein treatment, cells were placed in serum-free and antibiotic-free medium.
To determine the inhibitory effect of genistein on EGF-induced FOXO3 translocation from the nucleus to the cytosol immunofluorescent staining was performed. Monolayers were fixed with 3.7% paraformaldehyde and permeabilized with 0.2% Triton X-100. For staining, anti-FOXO3 primary antibody (Cell Signaling, Danvers, MA) and Alexa 488 conjugated secondary antibody were used (Molecular Probes-Invitrogen, Carlsbad, CA), as previously described [19, 23, 24]. After washing with PBS, coverslips were mounted using Prolong Gold antifade reagent (Molecular Probes), and images were captured with a Nikon Confocal Microscope C1 and analyzed with EZ-C1 software (Nikon, Tokyo, Japan).
Total protein was extracted using a lysis buffer (Cell Signaling, Danvers, MA) with a protease inhibitor cocktail (Sigma-Aldrich), and protein concentration was determined by Bradford assay (Bio-Rad, Hercules, CA). The protein extracts were stored at -20°C until further processing.
Equal amounts of protein (40 μg) were separated by SDS-PAGE and transferred to nitrocellulose membranes by voltage gradient transfer (Bio-Rad). Prepared blots were blocked and detection was performed using specific antibodies for total FOXO3 (Cell Signaling Technology, Danvers, MA), phosphorylated FOXO3 at Thr 32 (Upstate Biotechnology), pAkt (Cell Signaling), p27kip1 (Cell Signaling), actin, EGFR, pEGFR, and p53 (Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Santa Cruz, CA). After washing, the blots were incubated with horseradish peroxidase linked secondary antibodies (Cell Signaling, Danvers, MA), and detection was achieved with ECL plus western blotting detection reagents (GE Healthcare, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom). Intensity of the bands was quantified by optical densitometry using Labworks 4.6 Image Acquisition and Analysis Software (UVP, Cambridge, UK), and was calculated as percentage of changes relative to control.
The effect of genistein on FOXO3-p53 incitation was assessed by co-immunoprecipitation. One milligram of whole cell lysate was incubated with 10 μg of mouse anti-FOXO3 antibody (Cell Signaling) and protein A beads overnight at 4°C. Immunoprecipitates were washed five times with lysis buffer, separated by SDS-PAGE, and transferred to membranes. Immunoblot analysis was performed with anti-p53 antibody from rabbit (Santa Cruz Biotechnology) to prevent cross-reaction. IgG antibody from mouse was used as a negative control.
Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (ChIP) Assay
The effect of genistein on FOXO3 binding to p27kip1 promoter was examined by ChIP assay according to the manufacturer's instructions (Millipore, Temecula, CA). After cross-linking with 1% formaldehyde, the cells were incubated in lysis buffer and sonicated to cut DNA (200 to 1000 bp). Aliquots (20 μl) from each sample were held separately for use as "input DNA" in PCR analysis. Equal amounts of protein were incubated with FOXO3 (Cell Signaling) or p53 (Santa Cruz) antibodies at 4°C overnight, and the complexes comprised of DNA-protein were pelleted with protein G-agarose. After reversing the immunoprecipitated complexes and input aliquots with 5 M NaCl at 65°C for 4 hours, protein was separated from DNA using proteinase K. Extracted DNA (phenol/chloroform) was amplified using primers from p27kip1 promoter (forward: 5'-GTC CCT TCC AGC TGT CAC AT-3'; reverse, 5'-GGA AAC CAA CCT TCC GTT CT-3'). Input represents PCR amplification of DNA from cell lysate before immunoprecipitation with the primers used to amplify the p27kip1 promoter and β-actin (forward, 5'-CCA CAC TGT GCC CAT CTA CG-3'; reverse, 5'- AGG ATC TTC ATG AGG TAG TCA GTC AG-3').
Cell Proliferation Assays
An inhibitory effect of genistein on proliferation of colon cancer cell lines was detected using the MTS assay (Promega; Medison, WI). Cells grown in regular media were plated on 96-well plates (5000 cells per well) and after 48 hours of incubation with the experimental compounds, part of the medium was removed, and MTS solution was added for another 3 hours at 37°C. A water-soluble formazan product converts from MTS and was detected at 490 nm using a SPECTRAmax Plus Microplate Reader (Molecular Devices, Sunnyvale, CA). Results obtained at 490 nm were converted to percentile changes relative to control.
Silencing p53 (siRNA) was utilized to determine its effect on FOXO3 activity in HT-29 cells. Cells were transfected with p53 siRNA (Santa Cruz Biotechnology) (GCAUGAACCGGAGGCCCAU) or negative-control (Invitrogen) using Lipofectamine RNAiMAX (Invitrogen). After 5 hours, transfection media was replaced with regular media containing genistein and protein was extracted 48 hours later.
Data were compared by a one-way analysis of variance and a Student's t test. The results are expressed as means ± standard deviation. Differences were considered significant at p < 0.05.