Wang, A. T., Prinsep, M. R., & Martinus, R. D. (2016). Pterocellin A isolated from marine bryozoan Pterocella vesiculosa is cytotoxic to human HeLa cells via mitochondrial apoptotic processes. SpringerPlus. http://doi.org/10.1186/s40064-016-2397-9
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/10409
Pterocellin A is a novel bioactive alkaloid isolated from the New Zealand marine bryozoan Pterocella vesiculosa. It exhibits potent antitumour activity towards the P388 (murine leukaemia) cell line in vitro and is selectively sensitive towards certain non-small cell lung, melanoma, and breast cancer cell lines, however, the biological mode of action of pterocellin A is unknown. Using the human cervical cancer cell line HeLa, we show that pterocellin A exhibited cytotoxicity against HeLa cells with an IC50 of 886 ng/mL. Time-course MTT and LDH assays were carried out and the results showed only a low level of cytosolic LDH was detected in the supernatant after all the cells have died from pterocellin A treatment at 2000 ng/mL. This indicated the cells maintained membrane integrity upon cell death which suggested apoptotic cell death. Additionally, morphological changes were observed under the microscope after 6 h of treatment. Cell shrinkage and nucleus condensation were observed, as well as apparent membrane blebbing, a key feature of apoptosis. The MTT data was also indicative of mitochondria impairment which could suggest that pterocellin A targets the mitochondria. This idea was supported by the observed changes in the morphology and location of the mitochondria after exposure to pterocellin A. Furthermore, the level of activated caspase-3 in HeLa cells increased after treatment with pterocellin A; activated caspase-3 can only be detected after a series of signalling events following the induction of apoptosis. These data support the notion that pterocellin A is an inducer of apoptosis in HeLa cells possibly via mitochondria related processes.
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