The present study was designed to investigate the anticancer activity of novel nine small peptides (compounds 1-9) derived from TT-232, a somatostatin structural analogue, by analyzing the inhibition of mammalian DNA polymerase (pol) and human cancer cell growth. Among the compounds tested, compounds 3 [tert-butyloxycarbonyl (Boc)-Tyr-Phe-1-naphthylamide], 4 (Boc-Tyr-Ile-1-naphthylamide), 5 (Boc-Tyr-Leu-1-naphthylamide) and 6 (Boc-Tyr-Val-1-naphthylamide) containing tyrosine (Tyr) but no carboxyl groups, selectively inhibited the activity of rat pol β, which is a DNA repair-related pol. Compounds 3-6 strongly inhibited the growth of human colon carcinoma HCT116 p53(+/+) cells. The influence of compounds 1-9 on HCT116 p53(-/-) cell growth was similar to that observed for HCT116 p53(+/+) cells. These results suggest that the cancer cell growth suppression induced by these compounds might be related to their inhibition of pol. Compound 4 was the strongest inhibitor of pol β and cancer cell growth among the nine compounds tested. This compound specifically inhibited rat pol β activity, but had no effect on the other 10 mammalian pols investigated. Compound 4 combined with methyl methane sulfonate (MMS) treatment synergistically suppressed HCT116 p53(-/-) cell growth compared with MMS alone. This compound also induced apoptosis in HCT116 cells with or without p53. From these results, the influence of compound 4, a specific pol β inhibitor, on the relationship between DNA repair and cancer cell growth is discussed.
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