K.-C. Bai
F. Sheu


Cordyceps militaris is a dietary therapeutic fungus that is an important model species in Cordyceps research. In this study, we purified a novel protein from the fruit bodies of C. militaris and designated it as Cordyceps militaris protein (CMP). CMP has a molecular mass of 18.0 kDa and is not glycosylated. Interestingly, CMP inhibited cell viability in murine primary cells and other cell lines in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Using trypan blue staining and a lactate dehydrogenase release assay, we showed that CMP caused cell death in the murine hepatoma cell line BNL 1MEA.7R.1. Furthermore, the frequency of BNL 1MEA.7R.1 cells at the sub-G1 stage was increased by CMP. Apoptosis, as determined by Annexin V and propidium iodide analysis, indicated that CMP could mediate BNL 1MEA.7R.1 apoptosis, but not necrosis. After coincubation with CMP, a decrease in mitochondria potential was detected using 3,3′-dihexyloxacarbocyanine iodide. These results suggest that CMP is a harmful protein that induces apoptosis through a mitochondrion-dependent pathway. Stability experiments demonstrated that heat treatment and alkalization degraded CMP and further destroyed its cell-death-inducing ability, implying that cooking is necessary for food containing C. militaris. © 2017

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.