The dissociation of the Hsp60/pro-Caspase-3 complex by bis(pyridyl)oxadiazole copper complex (CubipyOXA) leads to cell death in NCI-H292 cancer cells

Celeste Caruso Bavisotto, Dragana Nikolic, Antonella Marino Gammazza, Rosario Barone, Filippa Lo Cascio, Emanuele Mocciaro, Giovanni Zummo, Everly Conway de Macario, Alberto JL Macario, Francesco Cappello, Valentina Giacalone, Andrea Pace, Giampaolo Barone, Antonio Palumbo Piccionello, Claudia Campanella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Cell survival and proliferation are central to carcinogenesis, involving various mechanisms among which those that impede apoptosis are important. In this, the role of the molecular chaperone Hsp60 is unclear since it has been reported that it can be both, pro- or anti-apoptotic. A solution to this riddle is crucial to the development of anti-cancer therapies targeting Hsp60. We addressed this question using a tumor cell line, NCI-H292, and [Cu(3,5-bis(2′-pyridyl)-1,2,4-oxadiazole)2(H2O)2](ClO4)2, CubipyOXA, a copper-containing compound with cytotoxic properties. We treated cells with various doses of the compound and measured cell viability; apoptosis indicators; and levels of Hsp60, pro-Caspase-3 (pC3), Caspase-3 (C3), and complex Hsp60/pC3, with complementary methods. The quantitative dose-response curves of the levels of Hsp60, activated C3, inactivated pC3, Hsp60/pC3 complex and indicators of cell apoptosis, and cell death, all coincided to show that CubipyOXA has pro-apoptotic activity and promotes cell death. The curves also indicate that the pro-apoptotic effects of CubipyOXA could likely be due to a lowering of Hsp60 levels and to its blocking the formation of the Hsp60/pC3 complex and/or its dissociating the complex when already formed, thus, interfering with the anti-apoptotic action of Hsp60. These findings shed some light on how a tumor cell may avert apoptosis using Hsp60 and point to the anti-cancer potential of drugs, such as CubipyOXA, which interfere with Hsp60/pC3 complex formation, and thus allow the apoptotic cascade to proceed. In view of these findings it becomes clear that the novel compound CubipyOXA should be considered a potential, high-efficiency antitumor agent deserving further testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-16
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Inorganic Biochemistry
StatePublished - May 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Cancer
  • CubipyOXA
  • Hsp60
  • Hsp60/pC3 complex
  • Pro-caspase-3 (pC3)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'The dissociation of the Hsp60/pro-Caspase-3 complex by bis(pyridyl)oxadiazole copper complex (CubipyOXA) leads to cell death in NCI-H292 cancer cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this