Piscidin-1, a 22-residue cationic peptide isolated from mast cells of a hybrid striped bass, has potent antimicrobial activities against both gram-positive and -negative bacteria. To date, there is no report of its antitumor activity on any tumor cell lines. In this study, we examined the antitumor activity of a synthetic piscidin-1 peptide against several human cancer cell lines using an MTS assay and soft-agar colony-formation assay. We found that a low dose of piscidin induces both apoptosis and necrosis in HT1080 cells, as shown by annexin-V/propidium iodide and acridine orange/ethidium bromide staining, and triggers a necrotic cell death pathway in a short period with high-dose treatment. The destruction of cell membranes by piscidin-1 was demonstrated by transmission electron microscopy. Furthermore, piscidin-1 also inhibits the migration of HT1080 cells in a dose-dependent manner. This study provides the first evidence of the anticancer activity of the antimicrobial peptide, piscidin-1, with potential implications for the treatment of cancer.
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