Inhibition of cancer cell growth and c-Myc transcriptional activity by a c-Myc helix 1-type peptide fused to an internalization sequence

Laura Giorello, Luana Clerico, Maria Pia Pescarolo, Faina Vikhanskaya, Mario Salmona, Gennaro Colella, Silvia Bruno, Tommaso Mancuso, Luca Bagnasco, Patrizia Russo, Silvio Parodi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

c-Myc is a nuclear protein with important roles in cell transformation, cell proliferation, and gene transcription. It has been previously shown that a 14-amino acid (aa) modified peptide (H1-S6A,F8A) derived from the helix 1 (H1) carboxylic region of c-Myc can interfere in vitro with specific c-Myc DNA binding. Here, we have linked the above Myc-derived 14-aa peptide to a 16-aa sequence from the third helix of Antennapedia (Int). It has been repeatedly reported that this 16-aa Antennapedia peptide is able to cross mammalian cell membranes and to work as a vector for short peptides. Using fluorescent (dansylated or rhodaminated) peptides, we have shown that the fusion peptide with the Antennapedia fragment (Int-H1-S6A,F8A) but not the c- Myc derived fragment alone (H1-S6A,F8A) was capable of internalization inside MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. Int-H1-S6A,F8A and H1-S6A,F8A were the only two peptides capable of inhibiting coimmunoprecipitation of the c-Myc/Max heterodimer in vitro. We have treated (continuously for 10-11 days) MCF-7 cells with four different peptides: Int, H1-S6A,F8A, Int-H1-S6A,F8A, and Int- H1wt [a peptide differing from Int-H1-S6A,F8A by 2 aa (S6 and F8) in the H1 region]. In intact MCF-7 cells, Int-H1-S6A,F8A was the only active peptide capable of inducing the following biological effects: (a) inhibition of cloning efficiency on plates; (b) inhibition of cell growth and induction of apoptosis in subconfluent/confluent cells; and (c) inhibition of transcription of two c-Myc-regulated genes (ODC and p53). Int-H1-S6A,F8A was active in the 1-10 μM range. Int-H1-S6A,F8A may represent a lead molecule for peptidomimetic compounds that have a similar three-dimensional structure but are more resistant to peptidases and, therefore, suitable for in vivo treatment of experimentally induced tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3654-3659
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Research
Volume58
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Aug 15 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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