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BmKn-2 Scorpion Venom Peptide for Killing Oral Cancer Cells by Apoptosis

  • Tong-ngam, Pirut (Institute of Molecular Biosciences) ;
  • Roytrakul, Sittiruk (Genome Institute, National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology) ;
  • Sritanaudomchai, Hathaitip (Department of Oral Biology, Faculty of Dentistry, Mahidol University)
  • Published : 2015.04.14

Abstract

Scorpion venom peptides recently have attracted attention as alternative chemotherapeutic agents that may overcome the limitations of current drugs, providing specific cytotoxicity for cancer cells with an ability to bypass multidrug-resistance mechanisms, additive effects in combination therapy and safety. In the present study, BmKn-2 scorpion venom peptide and its derivatives were chosen for assessment of anticancer activities. BmKn-2 was identified as the most effective against human oral squamous cells carcinoma cell line (HSC-4) by screening assays with an $IC_{50}$ value of $29{\mu}g/ml$. The BmKn-2 peptide killed HSC-4 cells through induction of apoptosis, as confirmed by phase contrast microscopy and RT-PCR techniques. Typical morphological features of apoptosis including cell shrinkage and rounding characteristics were observed in treated HSC-4 cells. The results were further confirmed by increased expression of pro-apoptotic genes such as caspase-3, -7, and -9 but decrease mRNA level of anti-apoptotic BCL-2 in BmKn-2 treated cells, as determined by RT-PCR assay. In summary, the BmKn-2 scorpion venom peptide demonstrates specific membrane binding, growth inhibition and apoptogenic activity against human oral cancer cells.

Keywords

BmKn-2;scorpion venom peptide;chemotherapeutic agents;apoptosis;oral cancer;anticancer

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