, Volume 122, Issue 1, pp 39-47

Kinetic study of the cytotoxic effect of α-sarcin, a ribosome inactivating protein fromAspergillus giganteus, on tumour cell lines: protein biosynthesis inhibition and cell binding

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α-Sarcin is a ribosome inactivating protein produced by the mouldAspergillus giganteus. The effect of this protein on eight different tumour cell lines has been studied in the absence of any agent affecting membrane permeability. The protein is cytotoxic for all the tumour cell lines considered. α-Sarcin modifies the cell proliferation pattern by inhibiting the protein biosynthesis of the cultured cells. No membrane damage produced by α-sarcin has been observed by measuring lactic dehydrogenase leakage. Alteration on the cell mitochondrial activity has not been detected upon treatment with α-sarcin. Differences on the extent of the protein binding to the cells have been observed by flow cytometric measurements. The kinetic analysis of the protein biosynthesis inhibition produced by α-sarcin reveals an α-sarcin concentration-dependent lag phase followed by a first order decrease of the protein synthesis rate. This parameter is dependent on the external α-sarcin concentration. A saturable component for the action of α-sarcin is also deduced from these experiments. Results are discussed in terms of the protein passage across the cell membrane as the potential rate-limiting step for the action of α-sarcin.