Protein-Bound Polysaccharides from Coriolus Versicolor Induce RIPK1/RIPK3/MLKL-Mediated Necroptosis in ER-Positive Breast Cancer and Amelanotic Melanoma Cells

Cell Physiol Biochem. 2020 Jun 13;54(4):591-604. doi: 10.33594/000000242.


Background/aims: The induction of necroptosis, a form of caspase-independent cell death, represents one of the most promising anticancer therapeutic modalities, as necroptosis serves as an alternative way to eliminate apoptosis-resistant tumor cells. Here, we investigated whether protein-bound polysaccharides (PBPs) derived from the fungus Coriolus versicolor (CV) induce the necroptotic death pathway in breast cancer and melanoma cells.

Methods: MCF-7 and SKMel-188 cells were exposed to PBPs either alone or in combination with necrostatin-1 (Nec-1), GSK'872 or necrosulfonamide (NSA), pharmacological inhibitors of the kinases receptor-interacting protein 1 kinase (RIPK1), receptor interacting protein kinase 3 (RIPK3) and mixed lineage kinase domain-like protein (MLKL), respectively, which are involved in necroptotic processes. The effects of cellular treatment with these inhibitors were quantified by measuring cell viability and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation via 3-(4,5-dimethyl-2-thiazolyl)-2,5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide (MTT) and 2',7'-dichlorofluorescein diacetate (DCF-DA) assays, respectively. The morphological changes induced in these cells were detected using holotomographic (HT) microscopy. Activation of the TNF-α/TNFR1 pathway in the PBP-stimulated cells was evaluated using TNF-α-neutralizing antibody, qRT-PCR and immunofluorescence-based assays.

Results: PBPs showed effective antitumor activity against MCF-7 and SKMel-188 cells. Cotreatment of the cells with Nec-1, GSK'872 or NSA abrogated PBP-induced cell death, and the cells were protected against membrane rupture. Moreover, breast cancer cell death caused by PBPs was mediated by induced activation of the TNF-α/TNFR1 pathway. Interestingly, the melanoma cells did not express TNF-α or TNFR1 after PBP stimulation; instead, PBPs triggered intracellular ROS generation, which was partially diminished by the inhibitors Nec-1, GSK'872 and NSA.

Conclusion: These results suggest that PBPs from the fungus CV induce RIPK1/RIPK3/MLKL-mediated necroptosis in breast cancer and melanoma cells, providing novel insights into the molecular effects of PBPs on cancer cells.

Keywords: Coriolus versicolor; Protein-bound polysaccharides; Melanoma; Breast cancer; Necroptosis.

MeSH terms

  • Acrylamides / pharmacology
  • Benzothiazoles / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Cell Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imidazoles / pharmacology
  • Indoles / pharmacology
  • MCF-7 Cells
  • Melanoma, Amelanotic / metabolism*
  • NIMA-Related Kinase 1 / metabolism
  • Necroptosis / drug effects*
  • Polysaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Quinolines / metabolism
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Receptor-Interacting Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptor-Interacting Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Type I / metabolism
  • Sulfonamides / pharmacology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Acrylamides
  • Benzothiazoles
  • GSK872
  • Imidazoles
  • Indoles
  • N-(4-(N-(3-methoxypyrazin-2-yl)sulfamoyl)phenyl)-3-(5-nitrothiophene-2-yl)acrylamide
  • Polysaccharides
  • Quinolines
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Type I
  • Sulfonamides
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • necrostatin-1
  • MLKL protein, human
  • Protein Kinases
  • NIMA-Related Kinase 1
  • RIPK1 protein, human
  • RIPK3 protein, human
  • Receptor-Interacting Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases