European Biophysics Journal

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 1–24 | Cite as

Biophysical characteristics of proteins and living cells exposed to the green tea polyphenol epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCg): review of recent advances from molecular mechanisms to nanomedicine and clinical trials

  • Beatrix PeterEmail author
  • Szilvia Bosze
  • Robert Horvath


Herbs and traditional medicines have been applied for thousands of years, but researchers started to study their mode of action at the molecular, cellular and tissue levels only recently. Nowadays, just like in ancient times, natural compounds are still determining factors in remedies. To support this statement, the recently won Nobel Prize for an anti-malaria agent from the plant sweet wormwood, which had been used to effectively treat the disease, could be mentioned. Among natural compounds and traditional Chinese medicines, the green tea polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg) is one of the most studied active substances. In the present review, we summarize the molecular scale interactions of proteins and EGCg with special focus on its limited stability and antioxidant properties. We outline the observed biophysical effects of EGCg on various cell lines and cultures. The alteration of cell adhesion, motility, migration, stiffness, apoptosis, proliferation as well as the different impacts on normal and cancer cells are all reviewed. We also handle the works performed using animal models, microbes and clinical trials. Novel ways to develop its utilization for therapeutic purposes in the future are discussed too, for instance, using nanoparticles and green tea polyphenols together to cure illnesses and the combination of EGCg and anticancer compounds to intensify their effects. The limitations of the employed experimental models and criticisms of the interpretation of the obtained experimental data are summarized as well.


EGCg Polyphenol Cell adhesion Nanoparticles Anticancer effects Proteins 



This work was supported by the Momentum Program (“Lendület”) of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and by the ERC_HU project of NKFIH. The project was subsidized by the European Union and co-financed by the European Social Fund. Szilvia Bosze wishes to thank the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund, grant no. 104275. Images were created by Photoshop and ChemBioDraw Ultra.


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© European Biophysical Societies' Association 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Doctoral School of Molecular- and NanotechnologiesUniversity of PannoniaVeszprémHungary
  2. 2.Nanobiosensorics Group, Institute for Technical Physics and Materials ScienceHungarian Academy of SciencesBudapestHungary
  3. 3.MTA-ELTE Research Group of Peptide ChemistryHungarian Academy of Sciences, Eötvös Loránd UniversityBudapest 112Hungary

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