Murbei/Mulberry (Morus alba L.)

Figure 1. Mulberry Plants

1. Name of plants

Name of Plants : Mulberry

Local Name : Kerta, Kitau (Sumatera); Murbai, Besaran (Jawa); Sangya (Cina)

Latin Name : Morus alba L.

Synonym : Morus Austalis Pour., and Morus Atropurpurea Roxb


2. Classification of Plants

Kingdom : Plantae

Order : Rosales

Family : Moraceae

Tribe : Moreae

Genus : Morus

Species : M. alba

Binomial Name: Morus alba


3. Description of Plants

Morus alba is native to the northern regions of China, but now cultivated in various places both regions with tropical or sub-tropical climates. These plants are plants classified as fast-growing, short-lived and has a height of 10-20 m.

At the time of the growth period, the length of the leaves can reach 30 cm and there are many lobes while at the present time, the long leaves only reach 5-15 cm and have no lobes. The leaves always fall in the autumn and evergreen in tropical climates.

4. Habitat and Spread

Mulberry (Morus alba) is native of China who is widespread in almost all places in the area with both tropical and sub-tropical climates. Mulberry can grow well at a height of over 100 meters above sea level and enough sun. Relatively large mulberry tree with a height of 9-12 m and a diameter of 0.5 cm.


5. Ingredients and benefits of plants

Also known as mulberry silk plants because it can be a place to live silkworms. Besides beneficial in producing silk, empirically mulberry people have taken advantage of as a traditional medicine for the flu, malaria, hypertension, asthma, hypertension drugs, palpitations, iabetes, insomnia, vertigo, anemia, hepatitis and diabetes mellitus (Hariana, 2008).

Mulberry contains many chemical compounds such as ecdysterone, inokosterone, lupeol, β-sitosterol, rutin, moracetin, scopoletin, benzaldehyde, eugenol, linalol, benzyl alcohol, butylamine, acetone, kholine and quercetin. On the twigs are tannins and vitamin A as well as in parts of the fruit are cyanidin, Isoquercetin, saccharides, linoleic acid, stearic acid, and carotenoids. In addition, on the leaves also contained kaempferol -3-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside,kaempferol-3-O-(6″-O-acetyl)-beta-D-glucopyranoside, quercetin-3-O-(6″-O-acetyl)-beta-D-glucopyranoside, quercetin-3-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside,kaempferol-3-O-alpha-L-rhamnopyranosyl-beta-D-glucopyranoside,quercetin-3-O-alpha-L-rhamnopyranosyl-beta-D-glucopyranoside, quercetin-3-O-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-beta-D-glucopyranoside, and quercetin-3,7-di-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside (Kim et al,. 2000). Ethanolic extract of the leaves of this plant are reported to have anticancer properties in vitro because it contains phytochemicals such as quercetin and anthosianin (Kim et al., 2000; Chen et al., 2006).


Figure 2. Quercetin-3-o-glucosida and Sianidin-3-o-glukosida


6. Mechanism of Anticancer Research

Quercetin and anthocyanin is a substance found in many plants, especially mulberry (Morus alba L.) which has potential as a chemopreventive agent. Anthosianin type that has an effect as a chemopreventive agent is sianidin-3-O-glukosida. Secara in vitro, sianidin-3-O-glukosida known to reduce the invasion of lung cancer cells A549 and can reduce cell motility (Chen et al., 2006) and quercetin is known to inhibit the growth of HL-60 cells were significan and can induce differentiation of HL-60 cells expressing antigen 66B CD and CD 14 (Kim et al., 2000). Quersetin also known to inhibit the growth, adhesion and migration of HeLa cells and is able to trigger apoptosis in HeLa cell cultures. At a dose of 20-80 micromol / l quersetin, the inhibition of adhesion, migration and invasion of HeLa cells increased 37-83% (Zhang, 2008). In addition, quercetin is also known to enhance the inhibitory effect of adhesion, invasion and migration of cisplatin in cultured HeLa cervical cancer cells (Chen et al., 2005).

In addition as a chemopreventive agent as mentioned above, Quercetin also been reported to act as co-agent chemotherapy. Based on research Wang (2009) suggests that quercetin may increase the therapeutic index of chemotherapeutic agents doxorubicin and has a cardioprotective effect and hepatoprotective so as to decrease the possibility of side effect that is cardiotoxic. So that known that quercetin can be used as a companion therapy in chemopreventive.

Anthosianin reported to have various biological activities and widely used as anti-oxidant. Anthosianin contained in Morus alba are sianidin 3-rutinosida and sianidin 3-glukosida. In the search of anticancer compound, cytotoxic parameter be sized to see activity against cancer. Reported sianidin 3-rutinosida and sianidin 3-glukosida in concentration 0-100 μM not showing cytotoxic against lung cancer cell A549 and MRC-5 using MTT assay.

Tumor progression, such as invasion is the first step for metastatic cancers that include cell motility, surface adhesion and extracellular protease activity. For cancer cell invasion need migration increase, various cyto-physiologic change include loss of adhesion the cells along with increased cell-matrix adhesion, and increased expression and activation of extracellular proteases to degrade the extracellular matrix and allow the invaded cells and metastasis.

Based on the research, show that sianidin 3-rutinosida and sianidin 3-glukosida significantly reduce invasion on A549 cell, also reduce cell mortality clearly. The matrix cell interaction test, reported that sianidin 3-glukosida real reduce the adhesion of matrix cell but sianidin 3-rutinosida is not. Extracellular matrix degradation is very important in cell invasion. Reported that siandin 3-rutinosida and sianidin 3-glukosida can reducting well the u-PA activity and real inhibit the MMP-2 activity but, the effect of sianidin 3-rutinosida and sianidin 3-glukosida in MMP-9 in low extreme.

Physiologic activity of u-PA and MMP-2 very related with its specific inhibitor , there are PAI and TIMP-2. Reported that sianidin 3-glukosida can increase protein level of PAI and TIMP-2, but not with sianidin 3-rutinosida. After that, also observe the regulator effect of sianidin 3-glukosida and siandin 3-rutinosida in MMP-2, u-PA, PAI and TIMP-2 in transcriptional level. The result show that both of that can reduce significantly the mRNA level in MMP-2 and u-PA also only sianidin 3-glukosida that decrease the mRNA level in PAI and TIMP-2. Two transcriptional factors are AP-1 and NF-κB possibly to influence the expression of protein u-PA and MMP. The result show that sianidin 3-rutinosida and sianidin 3-glukosida inhibit the activation of c-Jun and NF-κB (p65) (Chen et al., 2006).


Chen, P.N., 2006, Mulberry anthocyanins, cyanidin 3-rutinoside and cyanidin 3-glucoside, exhibited an inhibitory effect on the migration and invasion of a human lung cancer cell line, Cancer Letter235(2):248-259

Hou, D.X., 2003, Potential Mechanisms of Cancer Chemoprevention by Anthocyanins, Current Molecular Medicine3(2), pp. 149-159(11)

Kim S. Y., Gao J. J., Kang H. K., 2000, Two flavonoids from the leaves of Morus alba induce differentiation of the human promyelocytic leukemia (HL-60) cell line,  Biol Pharm Bull. 23(4):451-5

Thomasset, S., Teller, N., Cai, H., Marko, D., Berry, D.P., Steward, W.P., Gescher, A.J., 2009, Do anthocyanins and anthocyanidins, cancer chemopreventive pigments in the diet, merit development as potential drugs?, Cancer Chemother Pharmacol, 64:201–211.

Wang, L.S., and Stoner, G.D., 2008, Anthocyanins and their role in cancer prevention, Cancer Lett.269(2): 281–290.

Wang Jun, Fu An Wu, Hui Zhao, Li Liu and Qiu Sheng Wu, 2009, Isolation of Flavonoids from Mulberry (Morus alba L.) Leaves With Macroporous Resins, African Journal of Biotechnology, 7(13):2147-2155.

Zhang FL, Zhang W, Chen XM, Luo RY., 2008, Effects of Quercetin and Quercetin in Combination With Cisplatin on Adhesion, Migration and Invasion of HeLa Cells,  Zhonghua Fu Chan Ke Za Zhi43(8):619-21.


Contributors: Nanda Resa Pratama, Ari Widiyantoro