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Determination of the proteins and pathways involved in the anti-breast cancer activity of glycyrrhizin from a bioinformatics point of view
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  • Alireza Poustforoosh,
  • Sanaz Faramarz,
  • Manica Negahdaripour,
  • Hassan Hashemiour
Alireza Poustforoosh
Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Sanaz Faramarz
Kerman University of Medical Sciences
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Manica Negahdaripour
Shiraz University of Medical Sciences School of Pharmacy
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Hassan Hashemiour
Rafsanjan University of Vali Asr
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The anti-cancer activity of glycyrrhizin (licorice) against various types of breast cancer (BC) has been reported so far. However, a complete investigation for understanding the pathways that could be affected by this herbal compound as an anti-breast cancer agent has not been performed yet. This study tends to investigate the proteins and pathways involved in the anti-BC activity of glycyrrhizin. For this purpose, the target genes of glycyrrhizin were obtained from the ChEMBL database. The BC-associated genes for three kinds of BC were retrieved from DisGeNET. The target genes of glycyrrhizin and the BC-associated genes were compared, and the genes with disease specificity index (DSI > 0.6) were selected for further evaluation using in silico methods and bioinformatics tools. The protein-protein interaction (PPI) network was constructed, and Gene Ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways were analyzed. The results revealed 80 common genes among the glycyrrhizin target genes and breast carcinoma-associated genes. Ten genes had a DSI greater than 0.6. The binding affinity of glycyrrhizin to these proteins and binding characteristics were assessed using molecular docking and binding free energy calculations (MM/GBSA). POLK, TBXAS1, and ADRA1A showed the highest binding affinity with -8.9, -9.3, and -9.6 kcal/mol, respectively. ErbB signaling pathway and PD-L1 expression and PD-1 checkpoint pathway in cancer are the potent pathways for the anti-BC activity of glycyrrhizin. By affecting the obtained targets and modulating the mentioned pathways, glycyrrhizin can influence and control BC efficiently.