Abstract Bostrycin is an anthracenedione with phytotoxic and antibacterial activity that belongs to the large family of quinones. We have isolated bostrycin from the secondary metabolites of a mangrove endophytic fungus, no. 1403, collected from the South China Sea. Using the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model, we show that bostrycin inhibits cell proliferation by blocking the cell cycle at G1 phase and ultimately leads to cell death in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Bostrycin-induced lethal cytotoxicity is accompanied with increased levels of intracellular reactive oxygen species and hallmarks of apoptosis such as chromatin condensation, DNA fragmentation and externalization of phosphatidylserine. We further show that bostrycin decreases mitochondrial membrane electric potential and causes mitochondrial destruction during the progression of cell death. Bostrycin-induced cell death was promoted in YCA1 null yeast strain but was partially rescued in AIF1 null mutant both in fermentative and respiratory media, strongly indicating that bostrycin induces apoptosis in yeast cells through a mitochondria-mediated but caspase-independent pathway.
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