Differentiation-inducing factor-3 (DIF-3), found in the cellular slime mold Dictyostelium discoideum, and its derivatives such as butoxy-DIF-3 (Bu-DIF-3) are potent anti-tumor agents. However, the precise mechanisms underlying the actions of DIF-3 remain to be elucidated. In this study, we synthesized a green fluorescent derivative of DIF-3, BODIPY-DIF-3, and a control fluorescent compound, Bu-BODIPY (butyl-BODIPY), and investigated how DIF-like molecules behave in human cervical cancer HeLa cells by using both fluorescence and electron microscopy. BODIPY-DIF-3 at 5-20 μ M suppressed cell growth in a dose-dependent manner, whereas Bu-BODIPY had minimal effect on cell growth. When cells were incubated with BODIPY-DIF-3 at 20 μM, it penetrated cell membranes within 0.5 h and localized mainly in mitochondria, while Bu-BODIPY did not stain the cells. Exposure of cells for 1-3 days to DIF-3, Bu-DIF-3, BODIPY-DIF-3, or CCCP (a mitochondrial uncoupler) induced substantial mitochondrial swelling, suppressing cell growth. When added to isolated mitochondria, DIF-3, Bu-DIF-3, and BOIDPY-DIF-3, like CCCP, dose-dependently promoted the rate of oxygen consumption, but Bu-BODIPY did not. Our results suggest that these bioactive DIF-like molecules suppress cell growth, at least in part, by disturbing mitochondrial activity. This is the first report showing the cellular localization and behavior of DIF-like molecules in mammalian tumor cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)