The oncolytic peptide LTX-315 triggers immunogenic cell death

Cell Death Dis. 2016 Mar 10;7(3):e2134. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2016.47.


LTX-315 is a cationic amphilytic peptide that preferentially permeabilizes mitochondrial membranes, thereby causing partially BAX/BAK1-regulated, caspase-independent necrosis. Based on the observation that intratumorally injected LTX-315 stimulates a strong T lymphocyte-mediated anticancer immune response, we investigated whether LTX-315 may elicit the hallmarks of immunogenic cell death (ICD), namely (i) exposure of calreticulin on the plasma membrane surface, (ii) release of ATP into the extracellular space, (iii) exodus of HMGB1 from the nucleus, and (iv) induction of a type-1 interferon response. Using a panel of biosensor cell lines and robotized fluorescence microscopy coupled to automatic image analysis, we observed that LTX-315 induces all known ICD characteristics. This conclusion was validated by several independent methods including immunofluorescence stainings (for calreticulin), bioluminescence assays (for ATP), immunoassays (for HMGB1), and RT-PCRs (for type-1 interferon induction). When injected into established cancers, LTX-315 caused a transiently hemorrhagic focal necrosis that was accompanied by massive release of HMGB1 (from close-to-all cancer cells), as well as caspase-3 activation in a fraction of the cells. LTX-315 was at least as efficient as the positive control, the anthracycline mitoxantrone (MTX), in inducing local inflammation with infiltration by myeloid cells and T lymphocytes. Collectively, these results support the idea that LTX-315 can induce ICD, hence explaining its capacity to mediate immune-dependent therapeutic effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cell Death
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular / drug effects*
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Oligopeptides / pharmacokinetics*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • bcl-2 Homologous Antagonist-Killer Protein / immunology*
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein / immunology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • BAK1 protein, human
  • BAX protein, human
  • LTX-315
  • Oligopeptides
  • bcl-2 Homologous Antagonist-Killer Protein
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein