|dc.description.abstract||Taxol (generic name paclitaxel), a plant‐derived antineoplastic agent, was
originally isolated from the bark of the Pacific yew, Taxus brevifolia. Obtaining
taxol from this source requires destruction of trees. It has been used alone or in
combination with other chemotherapeutic agents for the treatment of breast,
ovarian as well as many other types of cancer, including non‐small cell lung
carcinoma, prostate, head and neck cancer, and lymphoma, as well as AIDSrelated
Kaposi’s sarcoma. The mode of action of taxol against a number of human cancer cells is by preventing the depolymerization of tubulin during cell division. This molecule increases microtubule stability in the cell and induces apoptosis. From yew trees, the yield of taxol is usually between 0.004 to 0.1% of the dry weight. The commercial isolation of 1 Kg of taxol requires about 6 to 7 tons of T. brevifolia bark obtained from 2000‐3000 well‐grown trees. The limited
supply of the drug has prompted efforts to find alternative sources of taxol.
Alternative methods for taxol production, such as chemical synthesis, tissue and
cell cultures of the Taxus species are expensive and give low yields. A
fermentation process involving any microorganism would be the most desirable
means to lower the cost and increase availability.
The first report on the isolation of taxol‐producing fungi from Taxus brevifolia appeared in 1993 (Stierle, et al., 1993). Several taxol‐producing fungi have been identified since, such as Taxomyces andreanae, Taxodium disticum, Tubercularia sp., Pestalotiopsis microspora, Alternaria sp., Fusarium maire and Periconia sp (Li, et al., 1996, Strobel, et al., 1996a, Strobel, et al., 1996b, Li, et al., 1998b, Ji, et al., 2006, Xu, et al., 2006). This thesis investigates the isolation of an endophytic fungus, isolated from the stem cuttings of Taxus celebica, which produces taxol and related taxanes. We observed morphological and cultural characteristics and analyzed the sequences of rDNA ITS from the strain. The isolated fungus grew on potato carrot agar (PCA) medium at 25 °C and the colonies were white to off‐white, floccose, with irregular margins. The reverse
side of the culture was cream in color. The morphology was examined microscopically following staining with cotton blue in lactophenol. Cultures produced macroconidia on slender, 85 μm long phialides. The macroconidia were 25‐40 X 3.75 μm. Cultures also produced round or oval microconidia.
Analysis of the ITS and D1/D2 26S rDNA sequence revealed 99 % identity with
Fusarium solani voucher NJM 0271. Based on its morphological, cultural characteristics and 26S rDNA sequence, the fungus was identified as F. solani. This fungus is different from the previously reported endophytic taxol‐producing species of Fusarium. Taxol and baccatin III, produced by this fungus, were identified by
chromatographic and spectroscopic comparison with standard compounds. The amount of taxol produced by F. solani in potato dextrose liquid medium is low (1.6 μg l‐1) (Chakravarthi, et al., 2008). We further investigated different growth media and various factors of cultivation to select the medium and conditions that maximize production of taxol and other taxanes by this fungus. F. solani was grown in five well‐defined culture media under stationary and shake conditions separately for various time intervals and the amounts of taxol, baccatin III and other taxanes produced were estimated by competitive immunoassay. The
modified flask basal medium (MFBM) was shown to yield the highest production of taxol (128 μg l‐1) which is 80 times more than when grown in potato dextrose liquid medium, baccatin III (136 μg l‐1) and total taxanes (350 μg l‐1) under shake conditions. From our results the highest taxol production of F. solani was achieved when cultured in MFBM. The production in MFBM was 80 times higher than that cultured in the potato dextrose liquid medium. In conclusion, it was
shown that the culture medium plays a major role in taxol and other taxanes production and fungal growth. MFBM is the best medium, among the media studied, to produce taxol and other taxanes. The higher concentrations of NH4NO3, MgSO4, KH2PO4 and FeCl3 in the FBM medium seem important for production of taxol and other taxanes. These results can be considered as starting‐point for the research directed to improve taxol and baccatin III production by F. solani via different approaches including fermentations, strain improvement and genetic engineering techniques.
Finally, in order to get more insights into the mode of action of this fungal taxol and baccatin III (for the first time), their apoptotic activity on different cancer cell lines was determined. We elucidated the biochemical pathways leading to apoptotic cell death after fungal taxol‐ and baccatin III‐ treatment in different cancer cell lines. Experiments are done on various cancer cell lines namely JR4 Jurkat (T‐cell leukemia), J16 Bcl‐2 Jurkat T cells, HepG2 (hepatoma), caspase‐8‐deficient Jurkat T cells, HeLa (human cervical carcinoma), Ovcar3 (human ovarian carcinoma) and T47D (human breast carcinoma) cells. We were
able to demonstrate that both fungal taxol and baccatin III can induce apoptosis in all the cell lines tested, by flow cytometric analysis. Hallmarks of apoptosis following the signaling pathway to far more upstream‐located events were investigated using biochemical and cell biological methods. It has shown that during fungal taxol‐ and baccatin III‐induced apoptosis, DNA is degraded resulting in a increased number of hypodiploid cells reaching up to 65‐70% after
48 h. Disruption of mitochondrial membrane potential was examined by flow cytometric analysis using mitochondrial membrane potential sensitive dye JC‐1 and JR4‐Jurkat cells were shown to undergo significant loss of mitochondrial membrane potential loss of mitochondrial membrane potential reaching up to 70% in 6 nM fungal taxol and 65 % in 3.5 μM baccatin III after 36 h. These results
were similar to those observed with standard taxol and baccatin III. We further investigated the role of caspases in fungal taxol‐ and baccatin III‐induced apoptosis, caspase‐8‐deficient Jurkat cells, Bcl‐2‐over‐expressed J16‐Jurkat cells and caspase inhibitors were used. Results derived from caspase‐8‐deficient Jurkat cells show that caspase‐8 is not involved in fungal taxol‐ and baccatin IIIinduced apoptosis of Jurkat cells. Using the pan‐caspase inhibitor (Z‐VAD‐FMK), caspase‐9 inhibitor (Z‐LEHD‐FMK), caspase‐3‐inhibitor (Z‐DEVD‐FMK), caspase‐2‐
inhibitor (Z‐VDVAD‐FMK) and caspase 10‐inhibitor (Z‐AEVD‐FMK), it was shown that caspase‐10 is involved in fungal taxol‐ and baccatin III‐ induced apoptosis in JR4‐Jurkat cells. It was also shown that inhibitors of caspases‐9, ‐2 or ‐3 partially
inhibited fungal taxol‐ and baccatin III‐ induced apoptosis, whereas the caspase‐
10 inhibitor totally abrogated this process. With the use of a fluorescence microscope, several morphological features characteristic of apoptosis such as
condensed chromatin and apoptotic bodies were identified in fungal taxol‐ and
baccatin III‐treated JR4‐Jurkat and HeLa cells. DNA fragmentations were shown
by agarose gel electrophoresis method. Our work showed that treatment of JR4‐ Jurkat and HepG2 cells with fungal taxol and baccatin III induces apoptosis as shown by DNA ladder formation. Herein it was demonstrated that fungal taxol and baccatin III have a similar mechanism of action, but the efficacy of fungal taxol to induce apoptosis is higher. In summary, fungal baccatin III is found to be effective in inducing apoptosis similar to taxol but at higher concentration and both fungal taxol and baccatin III induce apoptosis via caspase‐10 and mitochondrial pathway in Jurkat cells.
In conclusion, the present study describes isolation of a taxol‐producing endophyte F. solani IISc.CJB‐1. The growth requirements of this fungus for production of taxol, baccatin III and other taxanes were studied. The apoptotic activity of taxol and baccatin III (for the first time) was observed. In addition, our results show that the culture medium plays a major role in taxol and other
taxanes production and fungal growth. Among the media studied, modified flask
basal medium (MFBM) is the best to produce taxol and other taxanes. It is evident from this data that this fungal strain can be promising candidate for large‐scale production of taxol and related taxanes.||en_US