Survivin modulation in the antimelanoma activity of prodiginines

Paola C. Branco, Cristine A. Pontes, Paula Rezende-Teixeira, Pep Amengual-Rigo, Débora K. Alves-Fernandes, Silvya Stuchi Maria-Engler, Alison B. da Silva, Otília Deusdênia L. Pessoa, Paula C. Jimenez, Niloufar Mollasalehi, Eli Chapman, Victor Guallar, João A. Machado-Neto, Leticia V. Costa-Lotufo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Melanoma is a type of skin cancer with an elevated incidence of metastasis and chemoresistance. Such features hamper treatment success of these neoplasms, demanding the search for new therapeutic options. Using a two-step resin-based approach, we recently demonstrated that cytotoxic prodiginines bind to the inhibitor of apoptosis protein, survivin. Herein, we explore the role of survivin in melanoma and whether its modulation is related to the antimelanoma properties of three cytotoxic prodiginines (prodigiosin, cyclononylprodigiosin, and nonylprodigiosin) isolated from marine bacteria. In melanoma patients and cell lines, survivin is overexpressed, and higher levels negatively impact survival. All three prodiginines caused a decrease in cell growth with reduced cytotoxicity after 24 h compared to 72 h treatment, suggesting that low concentrations promote cytostatic effects in SK-Mel-19 (BRAF mutant) and SK-Mel-28 (BRAF mutant), but not in SK-Mel-147 (NRAS mutant). An increase in G1 population was observed after 24 h treatment with prodigiosin and cyclononylprodigiosin in SK-Mel-19. Further studies indicate that prodigiosin induced apoptosis and DNA damage, as detected by increased caspase-3 cleavage and histone H2AX phosphorylation, further arguing for the downregulation of survivin. Computer simulations suggest that prodigiosin and cyclononylprodigiosin bind to the BIR domain of survivin. Moreover, knockdown of survivin increased long-term toxicity of prodigiosin, as observed by reduced clonogenic capacity, but did not alter short-term cytotoxicity. In summary, prodiginine treatment provoked cytostatic rather than cytotoxic effects, cell cycle arrest at G0/G1 phase, induction of apoptosis and DNA damage, downregulation of survivin, and decreased clonogenic capacity in survivin knockdown cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number173465
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
StatePublished - Dec 5 2020


  • Anticancer compounds
  • Drug discovery
  • Inhibitor of apoptosis proteins (IAP)
  • Marine natural products
  • Prodigiosin
  • Survivin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


Dive into the research topics of 'Survivin modulation in the antimelanoma activity of prodiginines'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this