Date of Submission

Spring 2016

Academic Programs and Concentrations


Project Advisor 1

Emily McLaughlin

Project Advisor 2

Michael Tibbetts

Abstract/Artist's Statement


The development of novel cancer therapeutics is consistently at the forefront of scientific research and technology. This project aims to investigate deoxyviolacein, a biologically active natural product, which has high potential to combat metastatic disease. Deoxyviolacein is a bisindole alkaloid originally derived from Chromobacteria and has also been produced synthetically in high yields and purity. Synthetic deoxyviolacein was tested at a range of drug concentrations on HeLa and A549 cancer cell lines to establish thresholds of cytotoxicity. Additionally, cell motility was assessed in HeLa and A549 cells using a scratch motility assay at the same range of drug concentrations. Cell death was observed at 24 hours in the presence of 100 mM – 100 nM deoxyviolacein drug concentrations. At lower deoxyviolacein drug concentrations 10 nM – 10 pM, cell death did not occur, however no significant change in cell motility was observed. Deoxyviolacein does not have an effect on metastatic behavior in HeLa and A549 cell lines, but has potential to be effective in reducing primary tumor growth. Deoxyviolacein should be further tested to elucidate the threshold of cell viability and activation of metabolic pathways associated with programmed cell death mechanisms in the presence of deoxyviolacein.

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