Proteasome inhibition and ROS generation by 4-nerolidylcatechol induces melanoma cell death


Silvya S. Maria-Engler, e-mail:


Induction of apoptotic cell death in response to chemotherapy and other external stimuli has proved extremely difficult in melanoma, leading to tumor progression, metastasis formation and resistance to therapy. A promising approach for cancer chemotherapy is the inhibition of proteasomal activity, as the half-life of the majority of cellular proteins is under proteasomal control and inhibitors have been shown to induce cell death programs in a wide variety of tumor cell types. 4-Nerolidylcatechol (4-NC) is a potent antioxidant whose cytotoxic potential has already been demonstrated in melanoma tumor cell lines. Furthermore, 4-NC was able to induce the accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins, including classic targets of this process such as Mcl-1. As shown for other proteasomal inhibitors in melanoma, the cytotoxic action of 4-NC is time-dependent upon the pro-apoptotic protein Noxa, which is able to bind and neutralize Mcl-1. We demonstrate the role of 4-NC as a potent inducer of ROS and p53. The use of an artificial skin model containing melanoma also provided evidence that 4-NC prevented melanoma proliferation in a 3D model that more closely resembles normal human skin.