Even though cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide, there still not efficient treatment alternatives to substitute chemotherapy, the main course of treatment used today. With few alternatives to this kind of treatment, antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) stands out as promising antitumoral drugs. These peptides are products of the immune system of plants, insects and animals, and some those, in addition to their antimicrobial activities, have anticancer activities. Chen and his fellow researchers (2011) synthesized the peptides G(IIKK)nI-NH2 (n = 14), that are examples of AMPs with anticancer proprieties. This family of peptides showed to be efficient against three cancer cells lines with low cytotoxicity to two lines of mammalian cells. Therefore, the goal of this project is to study further these peptides, to understand its mechanisms of action and physico-chemical interactions with melanoma cells, one of the most aggressive kinds of skin cancer, through cell viability assays and flow cytometry experiments. The influence of the membrane composition, which is altered throughout the cancer development, will be studied through mimetic models of membrane in circular dichroism and liberation of a fluorescent label. The results that this project will provide have the potential to bring to light the basics of the interaction between theses peptides and the melanoma cells, contributing to the researches related to the development of new anticancer drugs.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: