Research Papers:

A recombinant fungal compound induces anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects on colon cancer cells

Lili Nimri, Orly Spivak, Dana Tal, Dominik Schälling, Irena Peri, Lutz Graeve, Tomer M. Salame, Oded Yarden, Yitzhak Hadar and Betty Schwartz _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:28854-28864. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.15859

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Lili Nimri1, Orly Spivak1, Dana Tal1, Dominik Schälling2, Irena Peri1, Lutz Graeve2, Tomer M. Salame3, Oded Yarden3, Yitzhak Hadar3, Betty Schwartz1

1The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Institute of Biochemistry, Food Science and Nutrition, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot 76100, Israel

2Faculty of Natural Sciences, Institute of Biological Chemistry and Nutrition, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart 70599, Germany

3Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Rehovot 76100, Israel

Correspondence to:

Betty Schwartz, email: betty.schwartz@mail.huji.ac.il

Keywords: recombinant ostreolysin, colon cancer, pro-apoptotic, fungal, microtubule

Received: November 10, 2016    Accepted: December 26, 2016    Published: March 02, 2017


Finding intracellular pathways and molecules that can prevent the proliferation of colon cancer cells can provide significant bases for developing treatments for this disease. Ostreolysin (Oly) is a protein found in the mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus, and we have produced a recombinant version of this protein (rOly).

We measured the viability of several colon cancer cells treated with rOly. Xenografts and syngeneic colon cancer cells were injected into in vivo mouse models, which were then treated with this recombinant protein.

rOly treatment induced a significant reduction in viability of human and mouse colon cancer cells. In contrast, there was no reduction in the viability of normal epithelial cells from the small intestine. In the search for cellular targets of rOly, we showed that it enhances the anti-proliferative activity of drugs targeting cellular tubulin. This was accompanied by a reduction in the weight and volume of tumours in mice injected with rOly as compared to their respective control mice in two in vivo models.

Our results advance the functional understanding of rOly as a potential anti-cancer treatment associated with pro-apoptotic activities preferentially targeting colon cancer cells.

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