A16-amino-acid peptide was isolated from the leaves of sweet potato. The peptide caused a rapid alkalinization response in tomato suspension culture media, a characteristic of defense peptides in plants. No post-translational modification was observed on the peptide according to MALDI-MS analysis. We have named the peptide Ipomoea batatas anti-cancer peptide (IbACP). IbACP also was shown with the ability to dose-dependently inhibit Panc-1, a pancreatic cancer line, cell proliferation. The morphological observations of the Panc-1 cells by phase contrast microscopy showed significant changes after treatment with IbACP. Moreover, caspase-3 and PARP [poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase] were activated by IbACP treatment, followed by cell death. An increase in the levels of cleaved caspase-3 and -9 was also detected by an immunoblot assay after treatment with IbACP. In addition, genomic DNA fragmentation and decreased cellular proliferation were induced when IbACP was supplied to the Panc-1 cells, further demonstrating its biological relevance. The combined data indicates that IbACP peptide may have an important role in the regulation of cellular proliferation by inducing and promoting apoptosis through the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway. This report also showed that IbACP peptide contains potent anti-cancer effects and may play an important role in herbal medicine development.
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