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BG-4, a novel anticancer peptide from bitter gourd (Momordica charantia), promotes apoptosis in human colon cancer cells

Vermont P. Dia, Hari B. Krishnan
Scientific Reports 2016 v.6 no. pp. 1-12
Momordica charantia, anticarcinogenic activity, apoptosis, carcinogenesis, caspase-3, cell cycle, colon, colorectal neoplasms, cyclin-dependent kinase, cytotoxicity, enzyme inhibition, humans, neoplasm cells, peptides, perennials, proteins, soybeans, trypsin, trypsin inhibitors
Momordica charantia is a perennial plant with reported health benefits. BG-4, a novel peptide from Momordica charantia, was isolated, purified and characterized. The trypsin inhibitory activity of BG-4 is 8.6 times higher than purified soybean trypsin inhibitor. The high trypsin inhibitory activity of BG-4 may be responsible for its capability to cause cytotoxicity to HCT-116 and HT-29 human colon cancer cells with ED(50) values of 134.4 and 217.0 μg/mL after 48 h of treatment, respectively. The mechanism involved in the cytotoxic effect may be associated with induction of apoptosis as evidenced by increased percentage of HCT-116 and HT-29 colon cancer cells undergoing apoptosis from 5.4% (untreated) to 24.8% (BG-4 treated, 125 μg/mL for 16 h) and 8.5% (untreated) to 31.9% (BG-4 treated, 125 μg/mL for 16 h), respectively. The molecular mechanistic explanation in the apoptosis inducing property of BG-4 is due to reduced expression of Bcl-2 and increased expression of Bax leading to increased expression of caspase-3 and affecting the expression of cell cycle proteins p21 and CDK2. This is the first report on the anti-cancer potential of a novel bioactive peptide isolated from Momordica charantia in vitro supporting the potential therapeutic property of BG-4 against colon cancer that must be addressed using in vivo models of colon carcinogenesis.