Acta biochimica et biophysica Sinica

CecropinXJ, a silkworm antimicrobial peptide, induces cytoskeleton disruption in esophageal carcinoma cells.

PMID 25122621


Antimicrobial peptides exist in the non-specific immune system of organism and participate in the innate host defense of each species. CecropinXJ, a cationic antimicrobial peptide, possesses potent anticancer activity and acts preferentially on cancer cells instead of normal cells, but the mechanism of cancer cell death induced by cecropinXJ remains largely unknown. This study was performed to investigate the cytoskeleton-disrupting effects of cecropinXJ on human esophageal carcinoma cell line Eca109 using scanning electron microscopy observation, fluorescence imaging, cell migration and invasion assays, western blotting, and quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analysis. The electronic microscope and fluorescence imaging observation suggested that cecropinXJ could result in morphological changes and induce damage to microtubules and actin of Eca109 cells in a dose-dependent manner. The cell migration and invasion assays demonstrated that cecropinXJ could inhibit migration and invasion of tumor cells. Western blot and qRT-PCR analysis showed that there was obvious correlation between microtubule depolymerization and actin polymerization induced by cecropinXJ. Moreover, cecropinXJ might also cause decreased expression of α-actin, β-actin, γ-actin, α-tubulin, and β-tubulin genes in concentration- and time-dependent manners. In summary, this study indicates that cecropinXJ triggers cytotoxicity in Eca109 cells through inducing the cytoskeleton destruction and regulating the expression of cytoskeleton proteins. This cecropinXJ-mediated cytoskeleton-destruction effect is instrumental in our understanding of the detailed action of antimicrobial peptides in human cancer cells and cecropinXJ might be a potential therapeutic agent for the treatment of cancer in the future.