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Toxicon. 2012 Oct;60(5):734-43. doi: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2012.05.019. Epub 2012 Jun 7.

Cardiotoxin III suppresses MDA-MB-231 cell metastasis through the inhibition of EGF/EGFR-mediated signaling pathway.

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Department of Medicinal and Applied Chemistry, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung 807, Taiwan.


Cardiotoxin III (CTX III), a basic polypeptide isolated from Naja naja atra venom, has been shown to exhibit anticancer activity. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) and its receptor, EGFR, play roles in cancer metastasis in various tumors. We use EGF as a metastatic inducer of MDA-MB-231 cells to investigate the effect of CTX III on cell migration. CTX III inhibited the EGF-induced activation of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), and further suppressed cell invasion and migration without obvious cellular cytotoxicity. CTX III suppressed EGF-induced nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB) nuclear translocation and also abrogated the EGF-induced phosphorylation of EGFR, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt, and extracellular regulated kinase (ERK)1/2. In addition, CTX III similar to wortmannin (a PI3K inhibitor) and U0126 (an up-stream kinase regulating ERK1/2 inhibitor) attenuated cell migration and invasion induced by EGF. Furthermore, the EGFR inhibitor AG1478 inhibited EGF-induced MMP-9 expression, cell migration and invasion, as well as the activation of ERK1/2 and PI3K/Akt, suggesting that ERK1/2 and PI3K/Akt activation occur downstream of EGFR activation. These findings suggest that CTX III inhibited the EGF-induced invasion and migration of MDA-MB-231 cells via EGFR-dependent PI3K/Akt, ERK1/2, and NF-κB signaling, leading to the down-regulation of MMP-9 expression. These results provide a novel mechanism to explain the role of CTX III as a potent anti-metastatic agent in MDA-MB-231 cells.

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