National Research Council of Canada. Human Health Therapeutics
antimicrobial peptide; breast cancer; d-amino acid; cytotoxicity; pleurocidin
Cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAPs) defend against pathogens and, in some cases, exhibit potent anticancer activities. We previously reported that the pleurocidin NRC-03 causes lysis of breast cancer and multiple myeloma cells. NRC-03 also reduces the EC₅₀ of other cytotoxic compounds and prevents tumor growth in vivo. However, the therapeutic utility of NRC-03 may be limited by its susceptibility to degradation by proteases. The goal of this study was to characterize the anticancer activities of a d-amino acid analog of NRC-03 ([D]-NRC-03) that was predicted to be resistant to proteolytic degradation. Unlike NRC-03, [D]-NRC-03 was not degraded by human serum or trypsin and, in comparison to NRC-03, showed increased killing of breast cancer cells, including multidrug-resistant cells; however, [D]-NRC-03 was somewhat more cytotoxic than NRC-03 for several types of normal cells. Importantly, [D]-NRC-03 was more effective than NRC-03 in vivo since 4-fold less peptide was required for an equivalent inhibitory effect on the growth of breast cancer cell xenografts in immune-deficient mice. These findings demonstrate that a d-amino acid analog of NRC-03 overcomes a major limitation to the therapeutic use of NRC-03, namely peptide stability. Further modification of [D]-NRC-03 is required to improve its selectivity for cancer cells.
Experimental and Molecular Pathology99, no. 3: 426–434.