Oncomedicine 2019; 4:10-16. doi:10.7150/oncm.30990

Research Paper

Targeted Delivery of a Novel Conjugate Nef-M1 Peptide and Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes promotes Growth Inhibition and Mortality for Breast and Colon Tumorspheres

Harvey L. Bumpers1✉, Janagama D. Goud2, Upender Manne3, Venkat R. Katkoori1*

1. Department of Surgery, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA
2. Independent Research Scientist, Atlanta, GA, USA
3. Department of Pathology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA
*Senior Author


The Nef-M1 peptide (Nef-M1) has been shown to be an inhibitor of growth and metastasis of breast cancer (BC) and colorectal cancer (CRC) cells. Since a nano-construct for Nef-M1 could enhance its efficacy, we developed three-dimensional (3-D) cultures of tumorspheres of BC and CRC cells and treated them with functionalized, single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) conjugated with Nef-M1 (SWNTs-Nef-M1) to evaluate inhibition of cell growth. We hypothesized that cancer cells cultured as tumorspheres would be more sensitive to SWNTs-Nef-M1 than to Nef-M1 alone. 3-D cultures of human BC cells (MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-468) and CRC cells (SW480) were developed with 1% Sea Prep Hydrogel in supplemented RPMI-1640 medium. SWNTs-Nef-M1 was prepared by use of thionine, and its structure was confirmed by ultraviolet (UV) spectral analysis and gel electrophoresis. The tumorspheres were treated with Nef-M1 or SWNTs-Nef-M1 to compare their relative effects. Internalization of SWNTs-Nef-M1 was evaluated by transmission electron microscopy. The viability/apoptosis status of the tumorspheres was established by use of ethidium bromide and acridine orange staining using fluorescent microscopy. Gel electrophoresis and UV spectral analysis confirmed formation of the SWNTs-Nef-M1 conjugate. After 3 weeks, 3-D cultures of BC and CRC cells developed as tumorspheres, which, in the presence of Nef-M1, showed reduced growth and increased apoptosis. This effect was greater in the presence of SWNTs-Nef-M1, consistent with enhanced delivery of Nef-M1 to the cells via SWNTs. This sets the stage for more detailed evaluation to quantify apoptosis and elaboration of the mechanism of increased apoptotic activity. Delivery of an apoptotic peptide, Nef-M1, into 3-D cultures of BC and CRC cells was achieved via a nanoparticle construct with SWNTs. Furthermore, compared to Nef-M1, SWNTs-Nef-M1 suggests more extensive apoptosis.

Keywords: single-walled carbon nanotubes, Nef-M1 peptide, 3-D cultured tumorspheres, cancer therapy, drug delivery, breast and colon cancers

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). See http://ivyspring.com/terms for full terms and conditions.
How to cite this article:
Bumpers HL, Goud JD, Manne U, Katkoori VR. Targeted Delivery of a Novel Conjugate Nef-M1 Peptide and Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes promotes Growth Inhibition and Mortality for Breast and Colon Tumorspheres. Oncomedicine 2019; 4:10-16. doi:10.7150/oncm.30990. Available from http://www.oncm.org/v04p0010.htm