The cytotoxic effects of melittin, a bee-venom peptide, have been widely studied towards cancer cells. Typically, these studies have examined the effect of melittin over extendedtime courses (6-24 hours), meaning that immediate cellular interactions have been overlooked. In this work, we demonstrate the rapid effects of melittin on both gastric and colorectal cancer, specifically AGS, COLO205 and HCT-15 cell lines, over a period of 15 minutes. Melittin exhibited a dose dependent effect at 4 hours of treatment, with complete cellular death occurring at the highest dose of 20 μg/mL. Interestingly, when observed at shorter time points, melittin induced cellular changes within seconds; membrane damage was observed as swelling, breakage or blebbing. High-resolution imaging revealed treated cells to be compromised, showing clear change in cellular morphology. After 1 minute of melittin treatment, membrane changes were observed, and intracellular material could be seen expelled from the cells. Overall, these results enhance our understanding of the fast acting anti-cancer effects of melittin.
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© 2019 Soliman et al.