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Toxicon. 2011 Jan;57(1):1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2010.09.001. Epub 2010 Sep 22.

Gene expression in SK-Mel-28 human melanoma cells treated with the snake venom jararhagin.

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Genetics Laboratory, Butantan Institute, Av. Vital Brazsil 1500, Sao Paulo, SP, CEP 05503-900, Brazil.


Alternative approaches to improve the treatment of advanced melanomas are highly needed. The disintegrin domain of metalloproteinases binds integrin receptors on tumor cells, blocking migration, invasion, and metastatization. Previous studies showed that jararhagin, from the Bothrops jararaca snake venom, induces changes in the morphology and viability of SK-Mel-28 human melanoma cells, and decreases the number of metastases in mice injected with pre-treated cells. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the molecular effects of jararhagin on SK-Mel-28 cells and fibroblasts, concerning the expression of integrins, cadherins, caspases, and TP53 genes. Sub-toxic doses of jararhagin were administered to confluent cells. RT-PCR was performed following extraction of total RNA. Jararhagin treatments induced similar morphological alterations in both normal and tumor cells, with higher IC50 values for fibroblasts. Integrin genes were downregulated in untreated cells, except for ITGA6a,b, ITGAv, and ITGB3 which were highly expressed in SK-Mel-28. The integrin expression profiles were not affected by the toxin. However, jararhagin 30ng/μl upregulated genes TP53, CDKN1A, CDKN2A, CASP3, CASP5, CASP6, CASP8, and E-CDH in SK-Mel-28, and genes ITGB6, ITGB7, CASP3, TP53, and CDKN1B in fibroblasts. Appropriate jararhagin concentration can have apoptotic and suppressant effects on SK-Mel-28 cells, rather than on fibroblasts, and can be used to develop potential anti-cancer drugs.

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