Anti-Cancer Tumor Cell Necrosis of Epithelial Ovarian Cancer Cell Lines Depends on High Expression of HDM-2 Protein in Their Membranes

Anusha Thadi, Elizabeth M. Gleeson, Marian Khalili, Mohammad F. Shaikh, Eve Goldstein, William F. Morano, Lynsey M. Daniels, Nikhil Grandhi, Haley Glatthorn, Scott D. Richard, Paul M. Campbell, Ehsan Sarafraz-Yazdi, Matthew R. Pincus, Wilbur B. Bowne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective. Patients with epithelial ovarian cancers experience the highest fatality rates among all gynecological malignancies which require development of novel treatment strategies. Tumor cell necrosis was previously reported in a number of cancer cell lines following treatment with a p53-derived anti-cancer peptide called PNC-27. This peptide induces necrosis by transmembrane pore formation with HDM-2 protein that is expressed in the cancer cell membrane. We aimed to extend these studies further by investigating expression of membrane HDM-2 protein in ovarian cancer as it relates to susceptibility to PNC-27. Procedures. Herein, we measured HDM-2 membrane expression in two ovarian cancer cell lines (SKOV-3 and OVCAR-3) and a non-transformed control cell line (HUVEC) by flow cytometric and western blot analysis. Immunofluorescence was used to visualize colocalization of PNC-27 with membrane HDM-2. Treatment effects with PNC-27 and control peptide were assessed using a MTT cell proliferation assay while direct cytotoxicity was measured by lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release and induction of apoptotic markers; annexin V and caspase-3. Results. HDM-2 protein was highly expressed and frequently detected in the membranes of SKOV-3 and OVCAR-3 cells; a prominent 47.6 kDa HDM-2 plasma membrane isoform was present in both cell lines whereas 25, 29, and 30 kDa isoforms were preferentially expressed in OVCAR-3. Notably, PNC-27 colocalized with HDM-2 in the membranes of both cancer cell lines that resulted in rapid cellular necrosis. In contrast, no PNC-27 colocalization and cytotoxicity was observed with non-transformed HUVEC demonstrating minimal expression of membrane HDM-2. Conclusions. Our results suggest that HDM-2 is highly expressed in the membranes of these ovarian cancer cell lines and colocalizes with PNC-27. We therefore conclude that the association of PNC-27 with preferentially expressed membrane HDM-2 isoforms results in the proposed model for the formation of transmembrane pores and epithelial ovarian cancer tumor cell necrosis, as previously described in a number of solid tissue and hematologic malignancies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)611-624
Number of pages14
JournalAnnals of Clinical and Laboratory Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Epithelial
  • HDM-2
  • PNC-27
  • ovarian cancer
  • plasma membrane
  • tumor cell necrosis


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