Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics | VOL. 708

Inhibition of microtubule assembly and cytotoxic effect of graphene oxide on human colorectal carcinoma cell HCT116.

Publication Date Sep 15, 2021


Nanomaterials, such as graphene oxide (GO), are increasingly being investigated for their suitability in biomedical applications. Tubulin is the key molecule for the formation of microtubules crucial for cellular function and proliferation, and as such an appealing target for developing anticancer drug. Here we employ biophysical techniques to study the effect of GO on tubulin structure and how the changes affect the tubulin/microtubule assembly. GO disrupts the structural integrity of the protein, with consequent retardation of tubulin polymerization. Investigating the anticancer potential of GO, we found that it is more toxic to human colon cancer cells (HCT116), as compared to human embryonic kidney epithelial cells (HEK293). Immunocytochemistry indicated the disruption of microtubule assembly in HCT116cells. GO arrested cells in the S phase with increased accumulation in Sub-G1 population of cell cycle, inducing apoptosis by generating reactive oxygen species (ROS) in a dose- and time-dependent manner. GO inhibited microtubule formation by intervening into the polymerization of tubulin heterodimers both in vitro and ex vivo, resulting in growth arrest at the S phase and ROS induced apoptosis of HCT116 colorectal carcinoma cells. There was no significant harm to the HEK293 kidney epithelial cells used as control. Our report of pristine GO causing ROS-induced apoptosis of cancer cells and inhibition of tubulin-microtubule assembly can be of interest in cancer therapeutics and nanomedicine.


Human Embryonic Kidney Epithelial Cells Graphene Oxide Embryonic Kidney Epithelial Cells Potential Of Graphene Oxide Tubulin HCT116 Microtubule Reactive Oxygen Species Inhibition Of Microtubule Assembly Inhibited Microtubule Formation

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