Enhanced anticancer effect of MAP30–S3 by cyclosproin A through endosomal escape

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Cyclosporin A (CsA) is a calcium antagonist and can enhance the efficacy of some protein drugs, but its mechanism remains unknown. In this study, MAP30, a ribosome-inactivating protein reported to have apoptotic effects on cancer cells, was fused with S3, an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-targeting peptide. In addition, CsA was used to investigate whether it can further promote the apoptotic effects of S3 fused MAP30 (MAP30–S3). Our result showed that the internalization of FITC-labeled MAP30–S3 was increased significantly by S3 in HeLa cells. Unexpectedly, MAP30–S3 only showed a minor decrease in the viability of EGFR-overexpressing cancer cells, including HeLa, SMMC-7721, and MGC803 (IC50>5 μmol/l). However, 2 μmol/l CsA significantly increased the cytotoxicity of MAP30–S3, especially for HeLa cells (IC50=40.3 nmol/l). In comparison, CsA did not further decrease the cytotoxicity of MAP30–S3 on MRC-5, an EGFR low-expressing cell line from normal lung tissue, indicating that CsA did not affect the cancer-targeting specificity of MAP30–S3. Our results also showed that CsA further increased the apoptotic activity of MAP30–S3 in HeLa cells. CsA could promote the endosomal escape of FITC-MAP30–S3 with a diffused pattern in the cytoplasm. Five endocytic inhibitors were used to investigate the cellular uptake mechanism of MAP30–S3, and the results showed that the endosomal escape-enhancing effect of CsA on MAP30–S3 may be associated with the clathrin-dependent endocytic pathways. Our study suggested that CsA could be a novel endosomal escape enhancer to potentiate the intracellular release of anticancer protein drugs, resulting in their improved therapeutic efficacy.

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