J Biomol Struct Dyn. , 2023, Dec 13:1-26.

Decoding the therapeutic landscape of alpha-linolenic acid: a network pharmacology and bioinformatics investigation against cancer-related epigenetic modifiers.

Ulhe A Sharma N Mahajan A et al.


Omega-3 (n – 3) and omega-6 (n – 6) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are vital for human health, but an imbalance between these types is associated with chronic diseases, including cancer. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a n – 3 PUFA, shows promise as an anticancer agent in both laboratory and animal studies. However, the precise molecular mechanisms underlying ALA’s actions against cancer-related epigenetic modifiers (CaEpM) remain unclear. To understand this, we employed network pharmacology (NP) and molecular docking techniques. Our study identified 51 potential ALA targets and GO and KEGG pathway analysis revealed possible molecular targets and signaling pathways of ALA against CaEpM. From PPI analysis, EZH2, KAT2B, SIRT1, KAT2A, KDM6B, EHMT2, WDR5, SETD7, SIRT2, and HDAC3 emerged as the top 10 potential targets. Additionally, GeneMANIA functional association (GMFA) network analysis of these top 10 targets was performed to enhance NP insights and explore ALA’s multi-target approach. After an exhaustive analysis of the core FGN subnetwork, it became evident that 9 out of the 15 targets-namely EZH2, SUZ12, EED, PARP1, HDAC3, DNMT1, NCOR2, KAT2B, and TRRAP-manifested evidently strong and abundant interconnections among each other. Molecular docking of both top 10 targets and core FGN targets confirmed strong binding affinity between ALA and SIRT2, WDR5, KDM6B, EHMT2, HDAC3, EZH2, PARP1, and KAT2B, underscoring their roles in ALA’s anti-CaEpM mechanism. Our findings suggest that ALA may target key signaling pathways related to transcriptional regulation, microRNA involvement, stem cell pluripotency and cellular senescence in cancer epigenetics. These findings illuminate ALA’s potential as a multi-target agent against CaEpM.

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