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Verotoxin-1 Induction of Apoptosis in Gb3-Expressing Human Glioma Cell Lines
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Biosciences, Clinical chemistry.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Odontology, Periodontology.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Biosciences, Clinical chemistry.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Radiation Sciences, Oncology.
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2006 (English)In: Cancer Biology & Therapy, ISSN 1538-4047, Vol. 5, no 9, 1211-1217 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study was to examine the cytotoxicity and mechanism of apoptosis induction of verotoxin-1 (VT-1) in human glioma cell lines. VT-1 is a member of the shiga-toxin family expressed by some serotypes of Escherichia coli and Shigella dysenteriae. Shiga-toxins have been shown to induce apoptosis by binding to its membrane receptor Gb3. The human glioma cell lines SF-767, U-343 MG, and U-251 MG were studied together with BT4C, a rat glioma cell line. Cells were first screened for Gb3 expression by flow cytometry. Fluorescein diacetate was used to determine cell viability after VT-1 and irradiation exposure and apoptosis was studied by TUNEL staining, a mitochondrial membrane potential assay, and caspase activity assays. SF-767 and U-343 MG cells were found to express Gb3 and were also sensitive to VT-1-induced cytotoxicity, whereas nonGb3-expressing U-251 MG and BT4C glioma cells were not. VT-1 depolarized the mitochondrial membrane and activated caspase-9 and -3 of SF-767 and U-343 MG cells. VT-1 exposure for 72 h resulted in approx. 60 and 90% TUNEL-stained cells, respectively. D, L-Threo-1-phenyl-2-palmitoylamino-3-morpholino-1-propanol (PPMP) an inhibitor of glucosylceramide synthesis was used to block Gb3 synthesis. Two mumol/L PPMP for 72 h abolished SF-767 and U-343 MG expression of Gb3 and made the cells completely resistant to VT-1 induced apoptosis. Key components of MAP kinase signalling pathways that control BAX and mitochondrial function were investigated. VT-1 induced JNK phosphorylation in both cell lines, suggesting that survival signal pathways were overruled by VT-1-induced JNK activation leading to mitochondrial depolarization, caspase-9 activation and apoptosis. Immunohistochemistry of cryostat section from glioma biopsies demonstrated expression of Gb3 was in the vascular endothelial cells as well as tumor cells, but not in astrocytes. The high specificity and apoptosis inducing properties of verotoxin-1 indicates that the toxin may be a potential anti-neoplastic agent for Gb3-expressing gliomas.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 5, no 9, 1211-1217 p.
Keyword [en]
Apoptosis, Gb3, glioblastoma, MAP kinases, PPMP, Verotoxin-1
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-13689PubMedID: 16929170OAI: diva2:153360
Available from: 2008-01-11 Created: 2008-01-11 Last updated: 2011-07-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Bacterial toxins for cancer treatment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Bacterial toxins for cancer treatment
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Even though anti‐cancer chemotherapy has been continuously improved during the last decades. problems with adverse effects and drug resistance still constitutes a considerable obstacle and sets a demand for new effective treatment options. Tissue homeostasis in multi‐cellular organisms is maintained through intrinsic cell death, apoptosis, which removes unwanted or damaged cells. Disrupted apoptosis is an important factor in tumorgenesis and drug resistance, therefore induction or restoration of apoptotic pathways is also important for the treatment of cancer. Several naturally occurring bacterial toxins have the ability to induce apoptosis and could thus be candidates to complement or improve the therapeutic effect of other anticancer drugs.

The bacterial toxins, adenylate cyclase (AC) toxin from Bordetella pertussis, α‐toxin from Staphylococcus aureus and verotoxin‐1 (VT‐1) from Escherichia coli were investigated for their ability to induce apoptosis in different tumor cell lines. Toxin induction of cell death was investigated by cell viability assays, end‐stage apoptosis induction by DNA‐fregmentation (TUNEL) assay. Toxin receptor expression and signal transduction pathways to apoptosis were investigated by flow cytometry, caspase enzyme activity assays and western blot. Immunohistochemistry was used for identification of toxin receptor expression in tumor tissue samples.

AC‐toxin was cytotoxic and induced apoptosis in cultured malignant plural mesothelioma (MPM) and small‐cell lung cancer (SCLC) cells. Low‐toxic concentrations of AC‐toxin enhanced cisplatin cytotoxicity and apoptosis in both cell lines.

MPM‐cells with acquired cisplatin resistance were more sensitive to α‐toxin than the less resistant parental MPM cell line. A low‐toxic concentration of α‐toxin re‐sensitized resistant MPM cells to cisplatin cytotoxicity by apoptosis induced through the mitochondrial pathway without detectable activation of common up‐stream apoptosis signalling proteins.

VT‐1 was highly cytotoxic and induced apoptosis in globotriosylceramide (Gb3) ‐expressing glioma, breast cancer and non‐small‐cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells but was not cytotoxic to non‐Gb3‐expressing cells. PPMP, an inhibitor of glucosylceramide synthesis which makes exposed cells unable to synthesize Gb3 rendered Gb3‐expressing cells resistant to VT‐1. MPM cells with acquired‐cisplatin resistance expressed Gb3 in contrast to the absent of expression in the less resistant parental cell line. Gb3, could however be up‐regulated by cisplatin in Gb3‐negative MPM‐cells. Presence of a low‐toxic concentration of VT‐1 potentiated cisplatin‐induced cytotoxicity and apoptosis in the cisplatin‐resistance MPM cell line. VT‐1 was a potent inducer of apoptosis, probably via stress‐induced Mitogen‐activated protein kinase (MAPK)‐signaling involving c‐Jun N‐terminal kinase (JNK) and p38, leading to disruption of the mitochondrial membrane integrety, activation of caspase‐9 and ‐3, and ultimately DNA fragmentation and cell death. Gb3 expression was demonstrated in clinical specimens of glioblastoma and breast cancer making these tumor types interesting for further VT‐1 studies.

We conclude that bacterial toxins may be used to induce apoptosis in several types of cancer cells. Low concentrations of verotoxin‐1 and α‐toxin may potentially be used to overcome acquired cisplatin‐resistance in cancer patients.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Medicinsk biovetenskap, 2008. 47 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1178
Alpha‐toxin, AC‐toxin, mesothelioma, lung cancer, glioma, breast cancer, caspases, MAP-Kinase, verotoxin‐1, cisplatin, apoptosis, Gb3, drug resistance
National Category
Other Clinical Medicine
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-1637 (URN)978-91-7264-566-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-05-23, Sal D, 1D, 9 trappor, Norrlands universitetssjukhus, Umeå, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2008-05-05 Created: 2008-05-05 Last updated: 2010-01-21Bibliographically approved

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