Expression of the small heat-shock protein Hsp-16-2 in Caenorhabditis elegans is suppressed by Ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761
EGb 761, a standardized extract of Ginkgo biloba leaves, has been shown to have antioxidative properties. We have previously demonstrated that EGb 761 increases stress resistance and mean life span in the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans. In this study, the molecular mechanism of EGb 761 on alleviating effects of oxidative stress is further investigated using transgenic C. elegans expressing a jellyfish green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged inducible small heat-shock protein gene (hsp-16-2). The expression of hsp-16-2 induced by the pro-oxidant juglone and by heat shock was significantly suppressed by 86% and 33%, respectively, in the transgenic nematode fed with EGb 761. These effects of EGb 761 correlate with its ability to increase mean survival rate of the nematode in response to acute oxidative and thermal stresses, as well as to attenuate the basal levels of hydrogen peroxide in the organism. Thus, we interpret the suppression of hsp-16-2/GFP expression as an indication that EGb 761 decreases cellular stress resulting from exogenous treatments, therefore leading to a decreased transcriptional induction of the reporter transgene. These results support the hypothesis that EGb 761 augments the natural antistress system of C. elegans, thus increasing stress resistance and life span.