Identification of a Noncanonical Necrotic Cell Death Triggered via Enhanced Proteolysis by a Novel Sapogenol Derivative

Chem Res Toxicol. 2020 Nov 16;33(11):2880-2891. doi: 10.1021/acs.chemrestox.0c00339. Epub 2020 Nov 2.


Small molecules which activate distinct cell death pathways have promising high potential for anticancer drug research. Especially, regulated necrosis draws attention as an alternative cell death mechanism to overcome the drug resistance. Here, we report that a new semisynthetic saponin analogue (AG-08) triggers necrotic cell death with unprecedented pathways. AG-08-mediated necrosis depends on enhanced global proteolysis involving calpains, cathepsins, and caspases. Moreover, AG-08 generates several alterations in lysosomal function and physiology including membrane permeabilization, redistribution toward the perinuclear area, and lastly excessive tubulation. As a consequence of lysosomal impairment, the autophagic process was abolished via AG-08 treatment. Collectively, in addition to its ability to induce necrotic cell death, which makes AG-08 a promising candidate to cope with drug resistance, its unique activity mechanisms including autophagy/lysosome impairment and enhancement of proteolysis leading a strong death capacity emphasizes its potential for anticancer drug research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Death / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Necrosis / drug therapy*
  • Necrosis / pathology
  • Proteolysis*
  • Saponins / chemistry
  • Saponins / pharmacology*


  • Saponins