Does usnic acid affect microtubules in human cancer cells?

M. A. O'Neill, M. Mayer, K. E. Murray, H. M. L. Rolim-Santos, N. S. Santos-Magalhaes, A. M. Thompson, V.C.L. Appleyard

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    Abstract

    Usnic acid, a lichen metabolite, is known to exert antimitotic and antiproliferative activities against normal and malignant human cells. Many chemotherapy agents exert their activities by blocking cell cycle progression, inducing cell death through apoptosis. Microtubules, protein structure involved in the segregation of chromosomes during mitosis, serve as chemotherapeutical targets due to their key role in cellular division as well as apoptosis. The aim of this work was to investigate whether usnic acid affects the formation and/or stabilisation of microtubules by visualising microtubules and determining mitotic indices after treatment. The breast cancer cell line MCF7 and the lung cancer cell line H1299 were treated with usnic acid 29 mu M for 24 hours and two positive controls: vincristine (which prevents the formation of microtubules) or taxol (which stabilizes microtubules). Treatment of MCF7 and H1299 cells with usnic acid did not result in any morphological changes in microtubules or increase in the mitotic index. These results suggest that the antineoplastic activity of usnic acid is not related to alterations in the formation and/or stabilisation of microtubules.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)659-664
    Number of pages6
    JournalBrazilian Journal of Biology
    Volume70
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010

    Keywords

    • usnic acid
    • microtubules
    • breast cancer
    • lung cancer
    • CYTOTOXIC ACTIVITY
    • DIFFRACTAIC ACID
    • LICHENS
    • PROLIFERATION
    • METABOLITES
    • DERIVATIVES
    • INHIBITORS
    • COMPOUND
    • DYNAMICS
    • TARGET

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