2.1 Plant and cell
The stems and leaves of Coix lacryma-jobi L. were collected from Zubie Yao and Miao Ethnic Township in Xilin County of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of China, in October 2017, and identified by professor Qin Daoguang from Teaching and Research Section for Ethnic Medicine of Youjiang Medical University for Nationalities as Coix lacryma-jobi L. HeLa, HepG2, and SGC-7901 cell lines were purchased from the Shanghai Cell Bank of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Shanghai, China).
2.2 Plant material preparation and extraction
Plant material preparation and extraction process was shown in Fig. 1. The air-dried Coix lacryma-jobi L. stems and leaves (~ 50 kg) were crushed separately, and extracted three times with 200 L 95% ethanol (Chengdu Kelong Chemical Co., Ltd., Chengdu, Sichuan, China) and heated under reflux for 2 h (Chiang et al., 2020; Zhang et al., 2019) to yield ~ 1 kg of a crude extract, which was suspended in 4 L ultrapure water (Milli-Q A10, Merck Millipore, Billerica, MA, USA), extracted with petroleum ether (4 × 10 L) (Chengdu Kelong Chemical Co.), and the petroleum ether extract was combined and concentrated using a rotary evaporator (BC-R501C, Bekai, Shanghai, China) at 40℃ to obtain ~ 50 g of petroleum ether extract. Part of the extract was separated using silica gel column chromatography (200–300 mesh, Qingdao Wave Silica Gel Desiccant Co., Ltd., Qingdao, Shandong, China). Gradient elution (15:1→10:1→5:1) was carried out with petroleum ether-ethyl acetate as the mobile phase, and the eluent was examined using thin layer chromatography (TLC) Developing agent (petroleum ether:ethyl acetate = 10:1) (v/v). The TLC plate (GF254 plate, Qingdao Wave Silica Gel Desiccant) was sprayed using 10% (v/v) sulfuric acid in ethanol, and then heated at 110℃ for 5 min. According to the TLC analysis, 11 fractions were obtained (Fr. 1–1 to Fr. 1–11). Based on the previous experimental results (Lin et al., 2018), the Fr. 1–7 fraction (extracted from petroleum ether-ethyl acetate, 15:1) was further separated using silica gel column chromatography. The eluent was dichloromethane (CH2Cl2) (Chengdu Kelong Chemical) as the mobile phase, and the eluent was again examined using TLC. According to the TLC analysis, 6 fractions were obtained (Fr. 2 − 1 to Fr. 2–6). Fr. 2–2 was used for further study.
Fr. 2–2 was scanned from 190–600 nm (HPLC2695, Waters Co., Milford, MA, USA). The maximum absorptions were at 200 and 240 nm. Fr. 2–2 was separated and purified using preparative high performance liquid chromatography (NP7060C, Hanbon Science & Technology Co., Huaian, Jiangsu, China). The chromatographic conditions were as follows: C18 column, diameter 8 cm, length 65 cm. Gradient elution was carried out with methanol as the mobile phase, flow rate of 140 mL/min, wavelength of 210 nm and evaporative light scattering detector (ELSD-2000, Alltech, Chicago, IL, USA) to obtained the fraction Fr. 3 − 2 (tR = 34 min). Fr. 3 − 2 was concentrated at 50℃, and crystallized with methanol-water (100:1, v/v) to obtain the compound referred to as F2 (250 mg).
2.3 Structural identification of the compound F2
2.3.1 Ultraviolet (UV) analysis
F2 (5 mg) was dissolved in 5 mL deionized water (Sigma-Aldrich, St. Louis, MO, USA) for scanning between 100 and 500 nm using a UV spectrophotometer (1260, Agilent, Palo Alto, CA, USA).
2.3.2 Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) spectrum analysis
The FT-IR spectrum analysis of the compound F2 was done using a FT-IR spectrometer (Nicolet 6700, Thermo Scientific Co., Waltham, MA, USA) at room temperature. Sample pellets were obtained by mixing the lyophilized (Alpha 1–2 LD plus, Christ, Osterode, Germany) compound F2 (5 mg) powder with KBr (500 mg) (Sigma-Aldrich), and compressed into tablets prior for scanning in the frequency range of 400 to 4000 cm− 1 and at a resolution ratio of 1 cm− 1.
2.3.3 Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy analysis
F2 structure was measured using NMR analysis using a NMR spectrometer (Avance II-600, Bruker, Karlsruhe, Germany). F2 (25 g) was dissolved in 0.55 mL deuterium oxide (D2O) (Sigma-Aldrich), lyophilized, and redissolved in D2O for 1H NMR (600 MHz) and 13C NMR (150 MHz) spectrometry. All data were processed and analyzed using MestReNova software, Version 11.0.4 (Mestrelab Research, Santiago de Compostela, Spain).
2.4 Cell viability
Cell viability was detected using a colorimetric Cell Counting Kit (CCK, CK04, Dojindo Laboratories, Kyushu, Japan) assay based on the manufacturer’s instructions. Briefly, The tumor cells were seeded in a 96-well plate (1.0 × 104 cells/well). The cells was cultured overnight under different treatments, the medium was exchanged with 90 µL of fresh medium supplemented with 10 µL CCK8 and incubated for 3 h at 37℃. Subsequently, the absorbance was measured at 450 nm with a microplate reader (SpectraMax Plus 384, MD, USA). The data were obtained from 6 independent experiments.
2.5 Flow cytometry
Cells were digested with trypsin and then washed with phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) (Gibico). An Annexin V-FITC Apoptosis Detection Kit (AP101-100-kit, Hangzhou MultiSciences Biotech Co., Ltd., Zhejiang, China) was used to practice cell apoptosis in line with the manufacturer's instructions. The apoptotic cells were dual-stained with propidium iodide (PI) and Annexin V-FITC using an Annexin V-FITC Kit (Hangzhou MultiSciences Biotech). Analysis was carried out by Flow Cytometer (ACCURI C6, Becton, Dickinson, Franklin, NJ, USA).
2.6 Inhibitory effect of the compound F2 on DNA Topo I
Different concentrations of a positive control drug 10-HCPT (Selleck Chemicals, Houston, TX, USA) and different concentrations of the compound F2 were brought to 20 µL of the ultrapure water system (Merck Millipore), reacted at 37℃ for 30 min, then 2 µL 10% SDS was added to stop the reaction. Proteinase K (1 µL, RT403-01, Tiangen Biotech (Beijing) Co., Ltd., Beijing, China) and put in a water bath at 37℃ for digestion for 15 min, extracted with phenol:chloroform:isoamyl alcohol (1:1:1, v/v/v) (Sangon Biotech). The aqueous phase (15 µL) was added to 3 µL of 6 × loading buffer, Twelve µL with the λ-Hind III digest as a marker and 1% agarose gel was used for electrophoresis (EPS-600, Tanon Science & Technology Co., Ltd., Shanghai, China) at 5 V/cm for 2 h. DNA was visualized with nucleic acid stain (10,000 ×) for 15 min, decolorized using ultrapure water for 15 min, and quantification was done by a gel imaging system (Gel doc XR+, Bio-Rad, Hercules, CA, USA).
2.7 Statistical analysis
Statistical analysis was done with one-way analysis of variance using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software, version. 22.0 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA). Group means were compared, using the least significant differences and p < 0.05 or p < 0.01 were considered to be statistically significant.