Photocatalytic Superoxide Radical Generator that Induces Pytoptosis in Cancer Cells

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author Jong Seung Kim
journal Journal of the American Chemical Society


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In this study, we show that a photocatalytic superoxide radical (O2−•) generator, NI-TA, triggers pyroptosis in cancer cells. NI-TA was designed to take advantage of an intramolecular triplet-ground state splitting energy modulation approach. Detailed studies revealed that the pyroptosis triggered by NI-TA under conditions of photoexcitation proceeds through a caspase-3/gasdermin E (GSDME) pathway rather than via canonical processes involving caspase-1/gasdermin-D (GSDMD). NI-TA was found to function via a partial-O2-recycling mode of action and to trigger cell pyroptosis and provide for effective cancer cell ablation even under conditions of hypoxia (≤2% O2). In the case of T47D 3D multicellular spheroids, good antitumor efficiency and stemness inhibition are achieved. This work highlights how photocatalytic chemistry may be leveraged to develop effective pyroptosis-inducing agents.


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