Vismodegib Potentiates Marine Antimicrobial Peptide Tilapia Piscidin 4-Induced Cytotoxicity in Human Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Cells

Wei Chen Yeh, Yun Chieh Tu, Tzu Cheng Chien, Pei Ling Hsu, Chu Wan Lee, Shih Ying Wu, Bo Syong Pan, Hsin Hsien Yu, Bor Chyuan Su

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is a common cancer with several accepted treatments, such as chemotherapy, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors, and immune checkpoint inhibitors. Nevertheless, NSCLC cells often become insensitive to these treatments, and therapeutic resistance is a major reason NSCLC still has a high mortality rate. The induction of therapeutic resistance in NSCLC often involves hedgehog, and suppression of hedgehog can increase NSCLC cell sensitivity to several conventional therapies. In our previous work, we demonstrated that the marine antimicrobial peptide tilapia piscidin 4 (TP4) exhibits potent anti-NSCLC activity in both EGFR-WT and EGFR-mutant NSCLC cells. Here, we sought to further explore whether hedgehog might influence the sensitivity of NSCLC cells to TP4. Our results showed that hedgehog was activated by TP4 in both WT and EGFR-mutant NSCLC cells and that pharmacological inhibition of hedgehog by vismodegib, a Food and Drug Administration-approved hedgehog inhibitor, potentiated TP4-induced cytotoxicity. Mechanistically, vismodegib acted by enhancing TP4-mediated increases in mitochondrial membrane potential and intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS). MitoTempo, a specific mitochondrial ROS scavenger, abolished vismodegib/TP4 cytotoxicity. The combination of vismodegib with TP4 also reduced the levels of the antioxidant proteins catalase and superoxide dismutase, and it diminished the levels of chemoresistance-related proteins, Bcl-2 and p21. Thus, we conclude that hedgehog regulates the cytotoxic sensitivity of NSCLC cells to TP4 by protecting against mitochondrial dysfunction and suppressing oxidative stress. These findings suggest that combined treatment of vismodegib and TP4 may be a promising therapeutic strategy for NSCLC.

Original languageEnglish
JournalProbiotics and Antimicrobial Proteins
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology


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