Characteristics of apoptosis induction by the alkaloid emetine in human tumour cell lines.
Cytotoxic and apoptosis-inducing effects of the alkaloid emetine from Psychotria ipecacuanha (Rubiaceae) were studied in human cell lines. In Jurkat T-cells emetine leads to phosphatidylserine exposure, mitochondrial depolarisation, and DNA fragmentation. Furthermore, activation of several caspases (caspase-3, -9/6, and -8) was demonstrated in a fluorescent caspase assay. Bcl-2 over-expressing cells are less sensitive to emetine while caspase-8-deficient Jurkat T-cells react similarly to wild-type cells. This indicates that apoptosis induction is mediated via the mitochondrial pathway. By using hepatoma cell lines with differing p53 expression, it was concluded that p53 does not seem to play a role in apoptosis induction by emetine. Alterations of protein profiles during emetine-induced apoptosis were analysed by 2D-PAGE and MALDI-TOF-MS. A new protein spot was apparent after treatment with emetine: It could be identified as the N-terminal fragment lamin B1, which is released after cleavage by caspase-6.
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