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Cardiotoxin III (CTX III) is a basic polypeptide with 60 amino acid residues isolated from Naja naja atra venom. This is the first report on the mechanism of the anticancer effect of CTX III in human colorectal cancer Colo205 cells.

Cardiotoxin III-induced Colo205 cell apoptosis was confirmed by DNA fragmentation (DNA ladder and sub-G1 formation) with an IC50 of 4 mg/mL at 48 h.

Further mechanistic analysis demonstrate that CTX III induced the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (Dym), cytochrome c release from mitochondria into the cytosol and activation of capase-9, caspase 3, as well as markedly enhancing the expression of Bax, but not Bcl-2, protein in the cells. Moreover, the CTX III-induced apoptosis was significantly blocked by the broad-spectrum caspase inhibitor benzyloxycarbonyl-Val-Ala-Asp-fluoromethylketone.

However, CTX III did not generate the formation of reactive oxygen species and anti-oxidants, including N-acetylcysteine, and catalase could not block CTX III-induced apoptosis in the Colo205 cells.

Taken together, these results suggest that CTX III may induce apoptosis through a mitochondrial- and caspase-dependent mechanism and alteration of Bax/Bcl-2 ratio in human colorectal Colo205 cancer cells.
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Keywords: Bax; Colo205 cells; apoptosis; cardiotoxin III; caspase

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2006

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