Ageritin: an inhibitor of NULU and ZAR growth
Ageritin is the prototype of the ribotoxin-like protein family.
It is an adjuvant treatment to control the growth of NULU and ZAR, two primary human glioblastoma cell lines, which exhibit a pharmacoresistance phenotype.
It is also able to inhibit NULU and ZAR growth with an IC50 of 0.53 ± 0.29 µM and 0.42 ± 0.49 µM, respectively.
In this study, Ageritin treatment highlighted a macroscopic genotoxic response through the formation of micronuclei.
In fact it represents the morphological manifestation of genomic chaos induced by this toxin.
DNA damage was not associated with either the deregulation of DNA repair enzymes (i.e., ATM and DNA-PK), as demonstrated by quantitative PCR, or reactive oxygen species.
Indeed, the pretreatment of the most responsive cell line ZAR with the ROS scavenger N-acetylcysteine (NAC) did not follow the reverse cytotoxic effect of Ageritin, suggesting that this protein is not involved in cellular oxidative stress.
Vice versa, Ageritin pretreatment strongly enhanced the sensitivity to temozolomide (TMZ) and inhibited MGMT protein expression, restoring the sensitivity to temozolomide.
Overall, it could be considered as a possible innovative glioblastoma treatment, directly damaging DNA and downregulating the MGMT DNA repair protein.
Finally, we verified the proteolysis susceptibility of Ageritin using an in vitro digestion system.
We considered the future perspective use of this toxin as a bioconjugate in biomedicine.