PloS one

Identification of the sAPRIL binding peptide and its growth inhibition effects in the colorectal cancer cells.

PMID 25826583


A proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL) is a member of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) super family. It binds to its specific receptors and is involved in multiple processes during tumorigenesis and tumor cells proliferation. High levels of APRIL expression are closely correlated to the growth, metastasis, and 5-FU drug resistance of colorectal cancer. The aim of this study was to identify a specific APRIL binding peptide (BP) able to block APRIL activity that could be used as a potential treatment for colorectal cancer. A phage display library was used to identify peptides that bound selectively to soluble recombinant human APRIL (sAPRIL). The peptides with the highest binding affinity for sAPRIL were identified using ELISA. The effects of sAPRIL-BP on cell proliferation and cell cycle/apoptosis in vitro were evaluated using the CCK-8 assay and flow cytometry, respectively. An in vivo mouse model of colorectal cancer was used to determine the anti-tumor efficacy of the sAPRIL-BP. Three candidate peptides were characterized from eight phage clones with high binding affinity for sAPRIL. The peptide with the highest affinity was selected for further characterization. The identified sAPRIL-BP suppressed tumor cell proliferation and cell cycle progression in LOVO cells in a dose-dependent manner. In vivo in a mouse colorectal challenge model, the sAPRIL-BP reduced the growth of tumor xenografts in nude mice by inhibiting proliferation and inducing apoptosis intratumorally. Moreover, in an in vivo metastasis model, sAPRIL-BP reduced liver metastasis of colorectal cancer cells. sAPRIL-BP significantly suppressed tumor growth in vitro and in vivo and might be a candidate for treating colorectal cancers that express high levels of APRIL.