, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 345-353

Induction of apoptosis in human cancer cells by TZT-1027, an antimicrotubule agent

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Abstract

TZT-1027, a newly synthesized dolastatin 10 derivative, is a potent antitumor agent which inhibits microtubule polymerization and perturbs microtubule dynamics. In this report, we investigated whether TZT-1027 inhibited the growth of various human cancer cells, and the cell death caused by TZT-1027 was due to apoptosis. In addition, we elucidated the apoptosis machinery induced by treatment with TZT-1027. The 50% growth-inhibitory concentrations (IC50 values) of TZT-1027 on cancer cells derived from various sources were not more than 5.9 ng/ml. TZT-1027 showed superior cytotoxicity than any other antitumor agents. Next, we evaluated morphological nuclear change, namely, chromatin condensation and DNA fragmentation. We used three cancer cell lines derived from different types in view of having apoptosis related protein, human leukemia HL-60 (in the presence of both Caspase-3 and Bcl-2), human breast cancer MCF-7 (in the absence of Caspase-3), and human prostate cancer DU145 (in the absence of Bcl-2). TZT-1027 induced DNA fragmentation in the presence but not absence of Caspase-3. Nevertheless, apoptic chromatin condensation was observed in all cancer cells even if there was no Caspase-3. Furthermore, we examined whether TZT-1027, microtubule-disrupting agent, influenced cell cycle progression. Flow cytometric analysis revealed the cells treated with TZT-1027, and with the other antimicrotubule agents, to be arrested at the G2/M phase and subsequently to show fragmented DNA smaller than that of G1 phase cells. Moreover, we tested TZT-1027 for its ability to induce Bcl-2 phosphorylation in human cancer cell lines. TZT-1027 and other agents which interacted with microtubules induced Bcl-2 phosphorylation, whereas DNA-damaging agents did not. The present results suggested an association of the growth-inhibitory effect of TZT-1027 with the induction of apoptosis and indicated that the apoptosis induced by TZT-1027 was followed by G2/M arrest even if there was no Caspase-3 or Bcl-2.