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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2018 Jun;99:10-18. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2018.03.013. Epub 2018 Mar 17.

PaDef defensin from avocado (Persea americana var. drymifolia) is cytotoxic to K562 chronic myeloid leukemia cells through extrinsic apoptosis.

Author information

1
Centro Multidisciplinario de Estudios en Biotecnología, Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, Km 9.5 Carretera Morelia-Zinapécuaro, Posta Veterinaria, C.P. 58893, Morelia, Michoacán, México.
2
Centro Multidisciplinario de Estudios en Biotecnología, Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, Km 9.5 Carretera Morelia-Zinapécuaro, Posta Veterinaria, C.P. 58893, Morelia, Michoacán, México. Electronic address: elmeza@umich.mx.

Abstract

Plant defensins, a group of antimicrobial peptides, show selective cytotoxicity toward cancer cells. However, their mechanisms of action remain poorly understood. Here, we evaluated the cytotoxicity of PaDef defensin from avocado (Persea americana var. drymifolia) on K562 chronic myeloid leukemia cells and analyzed the pathway involved in the induction of cell death. The defensin PaDef was not cytotoxic against human PBMCs; however, it was cytotoxic for K562 cell line (IC50 = 97.3 μg/ml) activating apoptosis at 12 h. PaDef did not affect the mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm), neither the transmembranal potential or the release of intracellular calcium. Also, PaDef induced gene expression of caspase 8 (∼2 fold), TNF-α (∼4 fold) and TNFR1 (∼10 fold). In addition, the activation of caspase 8 was detected at 24 h, whereas caspase 9 activity was not modified, suggesting that the extrinsic apoptosis pathway could be activated. In conclusion, PaDef induces apoptosis on K562 cells, which is related to the activation of caspase 8 and involves the participation of TNF-α, which is a novel property for a plant defensin.

KEYWORDS:

Antimicrobial peptide; Apoptosis; Leukemia; PaDef defensin

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