Monogalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG) is the most abundant type of glycoglycerolipid found in the plant cell membrane and mostly in the chloroplast thylakoid membrane. The amphiphilic nature of MGDG is attractive in pharmaceutical fields for interaction with other biological molecules and hence exerting therapeutic anti-cancer, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory activities. In this study, we investigated the therapeutic efficacy of cyanobacteria derived MGDG to inhibit breast cancer cell growth. MGDG was extracted from a cyanobacteria Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 followed by a subsequent fractionation by column chromatographic technique. The purity and molecular structure of MGDG were analyzed by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy analysis. The presence of MGDG in the extracted fraction was further confirmed and quantified by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The anti-proliferation activity of the extracted MGDG molecule was tested against BT-474 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell lines. The in vitro study showed that MGDG extracted from Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 induced apoptosis in (70 ± 8) % of BT-474 (p < 0.001) and (58 ± 5) % of MDA-MB-231 cells (p < 0.001) using ~ 60 and 200 ng/ml of concentrations, respectively. The half-maximal inhibitory concentration, IC50 of MGDG extracted from Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 were (27.2 ± 7.6) and (150 ± 70) ng/ml in BT-474 and MDA-MB-231 cell lines, respectively. Quantification of caspase-3/7 activity using flow cytometry showed (3.0 ± 0.4) and (2.1 ± 0.04)-fold (p < 0.001) higher protein expressions in the MGDG treated BT-474 and MDA-MB-231 cells, respectively than untreated controls conferring to the caspase-dependent apoptosis. The MGDG did not show any significant cytotoxic side effects in human dermal fibroblasts cells. A commercially available MGDG control did not induce any apoptotic cell death in cancer cells substantiating the potential of the MGDG extracted from Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 for the treatment of breast cancer cells through the apoptosis-mediated pathway.


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering


This work was supported by the Center for Biomedical Research (CBR) at Missouri S&T, and using Missouri soybean farmers’ checkoff dollars provided by the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council (MSMC; Project No. 20-447-21).

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Publication Date

14 Jan 2021