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Biochem Mol Biol Int. 1994 Jun;33(3):411-9.

Gliotoxin induces apoptosis in mouse L929 fibroblast cells.

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Division of Cell Biology, John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University, Canberra.


The effect of the fungal toxin gliotoxin on the adherence and viability of mouse L929 cultured cells was examined. Gliotoxin at concentrations below 2 microM had no effect on cell function. The initial effect of exposure (6 h) resulted in the loss of cell adherence, with the non-adhered cells retaining viability. However, prolonged exposure (24 h) did not significantly enhance gliotoxin's effect on cell adherence, though the majority of non-adhered cells were found to have died by apoptosis, as confirmed from (i) electron microscopic examination and (ii) agarose gel electrophoresis of isolated DNA. The addition of foetal bovine serum to the culture medium had no effect on gliotoxin's activity. Ethanol (gliotoxin's solvent) had no effect on the assayed cell functions suggesting that the observed effects are due to gliotoxin alone. These results demonstrate for the first time that gliotoxin can cause apoptosis in cells of non-haematopoietic origins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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