International journal of immunopathology and pharmacology

Gene expression profile of human colon cancer cells treated with cross-reacting material 197, a diphtheria toxin non-toxic mutant.

PMID 21978696


Cross-Reacting Material 197 (CRM197) is a diphtheria toxin non-toxic mutant that has shown antitumor activity in mice and humans. It is still unclear whether this anti-tumorigenic effect depends on its strong inflammatory-immunological property, its ability to inhibit heparin-binding epidermal growth factor (HB-EGF), or even its possible weak toxicity. CRM197 is utilized as a specific inhibitor of HB-EGF that competes for the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), overexpressed in colorectal cancer and implicated in its progression. In this study we evaluate the effects of CRM197 on HT-29 human colon cancer cell line behaviour and, for CRM197 recognized ability to inhibit HB-EGF, its possible influence on EGFR activation. In particular, while HT-29 does not show any reduction of viability after CRM197 treatment (MTT modified assay), or changes in cell cycle distribution (flow cytometry), in EGFR localization, phospho-EGFR detected signals (immunohistochemistry) or in morphology (scanning electron microscopy, SEM) they show a change in the gene expression profile by microarray analysis (cDNA microarray SS-H19k8). The overexpression of genes like protein phosphatase 2, catalytic subunit, alpha isozyme (PPP2CA), guanine nucleotide-binding protein G subunit alpha-1(GNAI1) and butyrophilin, subfamily 2, member A1 (BTN2A1) has been confirmed with real-time-qPCR. This is the first study where the CRM197 treatment on HT-29 shows a possible scarce implication of endogenous HB-EGF on EGFR expression and cancer cell development. At the same time, our results show the alteration of a specific and selected number of genes.