Characterization of cytotoxicity in HEK 293T cells induced by crude Echis carinatus venom

Research Report

J Venom Res (2011), Vol 2, 59-67

Published online: 28 December 2011

Full Text: (PDF 919kb) | (PubMed Central Record HTML)

Rebecca D Pierce †, Ethan S Kim †, Lance W Girton †, Jonathan L McMurry ‡ , Joshua W Francis ‡ , Eric A Albrecht †*

† Department of Biology and Physics, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA 30144, USA

‡ Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA 300144, USA

*Correspondence to: Eric Albrecht, E-mail:, Tel: +770 4236447, Fax: +770 4236625

Received: 27 July 2011, Revised: 14 December 2011, Accepted: 21 December 2011

© Copyright The Authors


Echis carinatus (saw-scaled viper) produces potent hemorrhagic venom that causes the development of apoptotic and necrotic tissues. In this study, we used polyethyleneimine (PEI) to enhance cellular adherence, and to determine whether the substrate attachment influenced the survival of cells treated with crude Echis carinatus venom. Human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293T cells were grown for 18 hours in tissue culture plates with or without polyethyleneimine (PEI), and were then stimulated with crude Echis carinatus venom for 3 or 12 hours. HEK 293T cells grown without PEI displayed a robust oxidative response to corresponding substrate detachment, loss of plasma membrane integrity and decreased cell viability. Cells grown on PEI adsorbed substrates demonstrated prolonged substrate attachment resulting in significantly higher cell viabilities. These observations suggest that the cytotoxicity of crude Echis carinatus venom is dependent upon cellular detachment.

KEYWORDS: Anoikis, Echis carinatus, polyethlyeneimine, apoptosis, cytotoxcity