Kinetic Effects of Transferrin-Conjugated Gold Nanoparticles on the Antioxidant Glutathione-Thioredoxin Pathway
Nanoparticle-based therapeutics are being clinically translated for treating cancer. Even when thought to be biocompatible, nanoparticles are being increasingly identified as altering cell regulation and homeostasis. Antioxidant pathways are important for maintaining cell redox homeostasis and play important roles by maintaining ROS levels within tolerable ranges. Here, we sought to understand how a model of a relatively inert nanoparticle without any therapeutic agent itself could antagonize a cancer cell lines’ antioxidant mechanism. A label-free protein expression approach was used to assess the glutathione-thioredoxin antioxidative pathway in a prostate cancer cell line (PC-3) after exposure to gold nanoparticles conjugated with a targeting moiety (transferrin). The impact of the nanoparticles was also corroborated through morphological analysis with TEM and classification of pro-apoptotic cells by way of the sub-G0/G1 population via the cell cycle and annexin V apoptosis assay. After a two-hour exposure to nanoparticles, major proteins associated with the glutathione-thioredoxin antioxidant pathway were downregulated. However, this response was acute, and in terms of protein expression, cells quickly recovered within 24 h once nanoparticle exposure ceased. The impact on PRDX-family proteins appears as the most influential factor in how these nanoparticles induced an oxidative stress response in the PC-3 cells. An apparent adaptive response was observed if exposure to nanoparticles continued. Acute exposure was observed to have a detrimental effect on cell viability compared to continuously exposed cells. Nanoparticle effects on cell regulation likely provide a compounding therapeutic advantage under some circumstances, in addition to the action of any cytotoxic agents; however, any therapeutic advantage offered by nanoparticles themselves with regard to vulnerabilities specific to the glutathione-thioredoxin antioxidative pathway is highly temporal.