Barnase as a new therapeutic agent triggering apoptosis in human cancer cells

Evelina Edelweiss, Taras G. Balandin, Julia L. Ivanova, Gennady V. Lutsenko, Olga G. Leonova, Vladimir I. Popenko, Alexander M. Sapozhnikov, Sergey M. Deyev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


Background: RNases are currently studied as non-mutagenic alternatives to the harmful DNA-damaging anticancer drugs commonly used in clinical practice. Many mammalian RNases are not potent toxins due to the strong inhibition by ribonuclease inhibitor (RI) presented in the cytoplasm of mammalian cells. Methodology/Principal Findings: In search of new effective anticancer RNases we studied the effects of barnase, a ribonuclease from Bacillus amyloliquefaciens, on human cancer cells. We found that barnase is resistant to RI. In MTT cell viability assay, barnase was cytotoxic to human carcinoma cell lines with half-inhibitory concentrations (IC50) ranging from 0.2 to 13 μM and to leukemia cell lines with IC50 values ranging from 2.4 to 82 μM. Also, we characterized the cytotoxic effects of barnase-based immunoRNase scFv 4D5-dibarnase, which consists of two barnase molecules serially fused to the single-chain variable fragment (scFv) of humanized antibody 4D5 that recognizes the extracellular domain of cancer marker HER2. The scFv 4D5-dibarnase specifically bound to HER2-positive cells and was internalized via receptor-mediated endocytosis. The intracellular localization of internalized scFv 4D5-dibarnase was determined by electronic microscopy. The cytotoxic effect of scFv 4D5-dibarnase on HER2-positive human ovarian carcinoma SKOV-3 cells (IC50 = 1.8 nM) was three orders of magnitude greater than that of barnase alone. Both barnase and scFv 4D5-dibarnase induced apoptosis in SKOV-3 cells accompanied by internucleosomal chromatin fragmentation, membrane blebbing, the appearance of phosphatidyl-serine on the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane, and the activation of caspase-3. Conclusions/Significance: These results demonstrate that barnase is a potent toxic agent for targeting to cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2434
JournalPLoS One
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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