Peer-Reviewed Publications

      Systems biology reveals anatabine to be an NRF2 activator

      Messinis, D. E.; Poussin, C.; Latino, D. A. R. S.; Eb-Levadoux, Y.; Dulize, R.; Peric, D.; Guedj, E.; Titz, B.; Ivanov, N. V.; Peitsch, M. C.; Hoeng, J.

      Nov 16, 2022

      Anatabine, an alkaloid present in plants of the Solanaceae family (including tobacco and eggplant), has been shown to ameliorate chronic inflammatory conditions in mouse models, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, multiple sclerosis, and intestinal inflammation. However, the mechanisms of action of anatabine remain unclear. To understand the impact of anatabine on cellular systems and identify the molecular pathways that are perturbed, we designed a study to examine the concentration-dependent effects of anatabine on various cell types by using a systems pharmacology approach. The resulting dataset, consisting of measurements of various omics data types at different time points, was analyzed by using multiple computational techniques. To identify concentration-dependent activated pathways, we performed linear modeling followed by gene set enrichment. To predict the functional partners of anatabine and the involved pathways, we harnessed the LINCS L1000 dataset’s wealth of information and implemented integer linear programming on directed graphs, respectively. Finally, we experimentally verified our key computational predictions. Using an appropriate luciferase reporter cell system, we were able to demonstrate that anatabine treatment results in NRF2 (nuclear factor-erythroid factor 2-related factor 2) translocation, and our systematic phosphoproteomic assays showed that anatabine treatment results in activation of MAPK signaling. While there are certain areas to be explored in deciphering the exact anti-inflammatory mechanisms of action of anatabine and other NRF2 activators, we believe that anatabine constitutes an interesting molecule for its therapeutic potential in NRF2-related diseases.