Objective: To investigate the effects of Phycoerythrin (PE) on the human ovarian cancer cell line
SKOV-3 and its antitumor mechanisms from a transcriptional point of view.
Methods: SKOV-3 cells were exposed to different concentrations of phycoerythrin. The efficiency of this treatment
was evaluated through cell growth inhibition, changes in cell morphology, apoptosis and intracellular ROS
levels. High throughput sequencing (RNA-seq) was performed to screen Differentially Expressed Genes (DEGs),
which was verified using RT-PCR and Western blotting.
Results: PE showed a significant inhibitory effect on the growth of SKOV-3 cells in a time- and dose-dependent
manner. H&E staining, electron microscopy and flow cytometry revealed that PE induced apoptosis in SKOV-3
cells. Transcriptome analysis showed that 2963 genes were differentially expressed between untreated or PEtreated
cells. GO and KEGG pathway analyses identified 16 classical pathways that were enriched. We verified
8 DEGs including, JNK, GADD45A, EDEM2, RAD23, UBQLN, CAPN1, XBP1, and OS9. These results were
consistent with the results from transcriptional sequences.
Conclusion: The inhibitory effect of PE on SKOV-3 cells was a result of interaction with multiple pathways and
signaling molecules. Among these, the ROS/JNK/Bcl-2 signaling pathway, upregulation of JNK, GADD45A
and RAD23 as well as downregulation of XBP1 and OS9 played a critical role in the PE -induced apoptosis in
human ovarian cancer cells.