The effect of proteolysis on the induction of cell death by monomeric alpha-lactalbumin

Wolfram M. Brück, Glenn R. Gibson, Thomas B. Brück

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


α-Lactalbumin (α-la) is a major whey protein found in milk. Previous data suggested that α-la has antiproliferative effects in human adenocarcinoma cell lines such as Caco-2 and HT-29. However, the cell death inducing α-la was not a naturally occurring monomer but either a multimeric variant or an α-la:oleic acid complex (HAMLET/BAMLET). Proteolysis showed that both human and bovine α-la are susceptible to digestion. ELISA assays assessing cell death with the native undigested α-la fractions showed that undigested protein fractions did have a significant cell death effect on CaCo-2 cells. Bovine α-la was also more effective than human α-la. A reduction in activity corresponded with lower concentrations of the protein and partial digestion and fragmentation of the protein using trypsin and pepsin. This suggests that the tertiary structure is vital for the apoptotic effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-143
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • Cell death
  • Pepsin
  • Proteolysis
  • Trypsin
  • alpha-Lactalbumin


Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of proteolysis on the induction of cell death by monomeric alpha-lactalbumin'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this