The effect of sea anemone (H. magnifica) venom on two human breast cancer lines: death by apoptosis

Cytotechnology. 2014 Oct;66(5):845-52. doi: 10.1007/s10616-013-9636-5. Epub 2013 Aug 30.


Venom from the sea anemone, Heteractis magnifica, has multiple biological effects including, cytotoxic, cytolytic and hemolytic activities. In this study, cytotoxicity induced by H. magnifica venom was investigated using the crystal violet assay on human breast cancer T47D and MCF7 cell lines and normal human breast 184B5 cell line. Apoptosis was also assayed via Annexin V-flourescein isothiocyanate and propidium iodide (PI) staining followed by flow cytometric analysis. Cell cycle progression and mitochondria membrane potential were studied via flow cytometry following PI and JC-1 staining respectively. H. magnifica venom induced significant reductions in viable cell numbers and increases in apoptosis in T47D and MCF7 in dose-dependent manners. A significant apoptosis-related increase in the sub G1 peak of the cell cycle in both breast cancer cell lines was also observed. Moreover, treatment by venom cleaved caspase-8, caspase-9, and activated caspase-3. Overall, H. magnifica venom was highly cytotoxic to T47D and MCF7 human breast cancer cells, and the phenomenon could be the killing phenomenon via the death receptor-mediated and the mitochondria-mediated apoptotic pathways. Consequently, H. magnifica venom has potential for the development of a breast cancer therapeutic.