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Int J Oncol. 2013 Mar;42(3):1061-9. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2013.1768. Epub 2013 Jan 10.

A recombined fusion protein PTD-Grb2-SH2 inhibits the proliferation of breast cancer cells in vitro.

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  • 1Department of General Surgery, Tangdu Hospital of The Fourth Military Medical University, Ba'qiao, Xi'an, Shaanxi 710038, P.R. China.


The growth factor receptor bound protein 2 (Grb2) is one of the affirmative targets for cancer therapy, especially for breast cancer. In this study, we hypothesized the Src-homology 2 (SH2) domain in Grb2 may serve as a competitive protein-binding agent to interfere with the proliferation of breast cancer cells in vitro. We designed, constructed, expressed and purified a novel fusion protein containing the protein transduction domain (PTD) and Grb2-SH2 domain (we named it after PTD-Grb2-SH2). An immunofluorescence assay was used to investigate the location of PTD-Grb2-SH2 in cells. MTT assay and EdU experiments were applied to detect the proliferation of breast cancer cells. The ultra-structure was observed using transmission electron microscopy. Flow cytometry was used to determine the cytotoxicity of PTD-Grb2-SH2 on cell proliferation. We successfully obtained the PTD-Grb2-SH2 fusion protein in soluble form using a prokaryotic expression system. The new fusion protein successfully passed through both the cellular and nuclear membranes of breast cancer cells. The MTT assay showed that PTD-Grb2-SH2 exhibited significant toxicity to breast cancer cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner in vitro. EdU identified the decreased proliferation rates in treated MDA-MB-231 and SK-BR-3 cells. Observation by transmission electron microscopy and flow cytometry further confirmed the cytotoxicity as apoptosis. Our results show that the HIV1-TAT domain is a useful tool for transporting a low molecular weight protein across the cell membrane in vitro. The PTD-Grb2-SH2 may be a novel agent for breast cancer therapy.

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