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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 5 (2008), Issue 3, Pages 303-312
Original Article

Inhibitory Effects of Bangladeshi Medicinal Plant Extracts on Interactions between Transcription Factors and Target DNA Sequences

1ER-GenTech, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Ferrara, Italy
2University of Science and Technology of Chittagong, Bangladesh
3Laboratory for the Development of Pharmacologic and Pharmacogenomic Therapy of Thalassemia, Biothecnology Center, University of Ferrara, Italy
4Center of Excellence on Inflammation, University of Ferrara, Italy
5Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Ferrara, Via Fossato di Mortara, 74, 44100-Ferrara, Italy

Received 24 November 2006; Accepted 14 March 2007

Copyright © 2008 Ilaria Lampronti et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Several transcription factors (TFs) play crucial roles in governing the expression of different genes involved in the immune response, embryo or cell lineage development, cell apoptosis, cell cycle progression, oncogenesis, repair and fibrosis processes and inflammation. As far as inflammation, TFs playing pivotal roles are nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB), activator protein (AP-1), signal transducer and activator of transcription (STATs), cAMP response element binding protein (CREB) and GATA-1 factors. All these TFs regulate the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and are involved in the pathogenesis of a number of human disorders, particularly those with an inflammatory component. Since several medicinal plants can be employed to produce extracts exhibiting biological effects and because alteration of gene transcription represents a very interesting approach to control the expression of selected genes, this study sought to verify the ability of several extracts derived from Bangladeshi medicinal plants in interfering with molecular interactions between different TFs and specific DNA sequences. We first analyzed the antiproliferative activity of 19 medicinal plants on different human cell lines, including erythroleukemia K562, B lymphoid Raji and T lymphoid Jurkat cell lines. Secondly, we employed the electrophoretic mobility shift assay as a suitable technique for a fast screening of plant extracts altering the binding between NF-kB, AP-1, GATA-1, STAT-3, CREB and the relative target DNA elements.