Proliferation and invasion of melanoma are suppressed by a plant protease inhibitor, leading to downregulation of survival/death-related proteins
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Cell adhesion and migration are crucial for cancer progression and malignancy. Drugs available for the treatment of metastatic melanoma are expensive and unfit for certain patients. Therefore, there is still a need to identify new drugs that block tumor cell development. We investigated the effects of Enterolobium contortisiliquum trypsin inhibitor (EcTI), a protease inhibitor, on cell viability, cell migration, invasion, cell adhesion, and cell death (hallmarks of cancer) in vitro using human melanoma cells (SK-MEL-28 and CHL-1). Although EcTI did not affect non-tumor cells, it significantly inhibited the proliferation, migration, invasion, and adhesion of melanoma cells. Investigation of the underlying mechanisms revealed that EcTI triggered apoptosis and nuclear shrinkage, increased PI uptake, activated effector caspases-3/7, and produced reactive oxygen species (ROS). Furthermore, EcTI disrupted the mitochondrial membrane potential, altered calcium homeostasis, and modified proteins associated with survival and apoptosis/autophagy regulation. Acridine orange staining indicated acidic vesicular organelle formation upon EcTI treatment, demonstrating a cell death display. Electronic microscopy corroborated the apoptotic pattern by allowing the visualization of apoptotic bodies, mitochondrial cristae disorganization, and autophagic vesicles. Taken together, these results provide new insights into the anti-cancer properties of the natural EcTI protein, establishing it as a promising new therapeutic drug for use in melanoma treatment.
Bonturi CR, Salu BR, Bonazza CN, Sinigaglia RC, Rodrigues T, Flores MPA, et al. Proliferation and invasion of melanoma are suppressed by a plant protease inhibitor, leading to downregulation of survival/death-related proteins. Molecules. 2022 May; 27(9):2956. doi:10.3390/molecules27092956.
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