• Ribosome-inactivating proteins and their immunotoxins for cancer therapy: insights into the mechanism of cell death
  • Mercatelli, Daniele <1982>


  • MED/04 Patologia generale


  • Ribosome-inactivating proteins (RIPs) are a family of plant toxic enzymes that permanently damage ribosomes and possibly other cellular substrates, thus causing cell death involving different and still not completely understood pathways. The high cytotoxic activity showed by many RIPs makes them ideal candidates for the production of immunotoxins (ITs), chimeric proteins designed for the selective elimination of unwanted or malignant cells. Saporin-S6, a type 1 RIP extracted from Saponaria officinalis L. seeds, has been extensively employed to construct anticancer conjugates because of its high enzymatic activity, stability and resistance to conjugation procedures, resulting in the efficient killing of target cells. Here we investigated the anticancer properties of two saporin-based ITs, anti-CD20 RTX/S6 and anti-CD22 OM124/S6, designed for the experimental treatment of B-cell NHLs. Both ITs showed high cytotoxicity towards CD20-positive B-cells, and their antitumor efficacy was enhanced synergistically by a combined treatment with proteasome inhibitors or fludarabine. Furthermore, the two ITs showed differencies in potency and ability to activate effector caspases, and a different behavior in the presence of the ROS scavenger catalase. Taken together, these results suggest that the different carriers employed to target saporin might influence saporin intracellular routing and saporin-induced cell death mechanisms. We also investigated the early cellular response to stenodactylin, a recently discovered highly toxic type 2 RIP representing an interesting candidate for the design and production of a new IT for the experimental treatment of cancer.


  • 2015-05-11


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Mercatelli, Daniele (2015) Ribosome-inactivating proteins and their immunotoxins for cancer therapy: insights into the mechanism of cell death, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Oncologia e patologia sperimentale , 27 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/6791.