The proteomic landscape of ovarian cancer cells in response to melatonin

Roberta Carvalho Cesário, Leticia Barbosa Gaiotte, Maira Smaniotto Cucielo, Henrique Spaulonci Silveira, Lucilene Delazari dos Santos, Debora Aparecida Pires de Campos Zuccari, Fábio Rodrigues Ferreira Seiva, Russel J. Reiter, Luiz Gustavo de Almeida Chuffa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Ovarian cancer (OC) is the most lethal gynecological malignancy with a highly negative prognosis. Melatonin is an indoleamine secreted by the pineal gland during darkness and has shown antitumor activity in both in vitro and in vivo experiments. Herein, we investigated the influence of melatonin on the proteome of human ovarian carcinoma cells (SKOV-3 cell line) using the Ultimate 3000 LC Liquid NanoChromatography equipment coupled to a Q-Exactive mass spectrometry. After 48 h of treatment, melatonin induced a significant cytotoxicity especially with the highest melatonin concentration. The proteomic profile revealed 639 proteins in the control group, and 98, 110, and 128 proteins were altered by melatonin at the doses of 0.8, 1.6, and 2.4 mM, respectively. Proteins associated with the immune system and tricarboxylic acid cycle were increased in the three melatonin-exposed groups of cells. Specifically, the dose of 2.4 mM led to a reduction in molecules associated with protein synthesis, especially those of the ribosomal protein family. We also identified 28 potential genes shared between normal ovarian tissue and OC in all experimental groups, and melatonin was predicted to alter genes encoding ribosomal proteins. Notably, the set of proteins changed by melatonin was linked to a better prognosis for OC patients. We conclude that melatonin significantly alters the proteome of SKOV-3 cells by changing proteins involved with the immune response and mitochondrial metabolism. The concentration of 2.4 mM of melatonin promoted the largest number of protein changes. The evidence suggests that melatonin may be an effective therapeutic strategy against OC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number120352
JournalLife Sciences
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022


  • Immune response
  • Melatonin
  • Mitochondrial metabolism
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Proteome
  • SKOV-3 cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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