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Biochimie. 2011 Oct;93(10):1873-9. doi: 10.1016/j.biochi.2011.07.011. Epub 2011 Jul 20.

Oxidative stress by antimicrobial peptide pleurocidin triggers apoptosis in Candida albicans.

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School of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, College of Natural Sciences, Kyungpook National University, Daehak-ro 80, Buk-gu, Daegu 702-701, Republic of Korea.


Pleurocidin (GWGSFFKKAAHVGKHVGKAALTHYL-NH(2)), found in skin mucous secretions of the winter flounder Pleuronectes americanus, is known to possess a high potency and broad-spectrum antimicrobial peptide without cytotoxicity. In this study, to investigate the impact of pleurocidin on apoptotic progress, we observed morphological and physiological changes in Candida albicans. In cells exposed to pleurocidin, intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) which is a major cause of apoptosis were increased, and hydroxyl radicals were especially a large part of ROS. The increase of ROS induced oxidative stress and mitochondrial membrane depolarization which causes release of pro-apoptotic factors. Using FITC-VAD-FMK staining, we confirmed activation of yeast metacaspases which lead to apoptosis and phosphatidylserine externalization at early stage apoptosis was observed using annexin V FITC. In addition, pleurocidin induced-apoptotic cells underwent apoptotic morphological changes, showing the reduced cell size (low FSC) and enhanced intracellular density (high SSC) in flow cytometry dot plots. Under the influence of oxidative stress, DNA and nuclei were fragmented and condensed in cells, and they were visualized by 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) staining. These apoptotic phenomena represent that oxidative stress by inducing pleurocidin must be an important factor of the apoptotic process in C. albicans.

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