Mater Sci Eng C Mater Biol Appl. 2021 Aug;127:112214. doi: 10.1016/j.msec.2021.112214. Epub 2021 May 29.
In recent times, the development of functionalized nanoparticle methodology for biomedical applications has become a major challenge. In the present study, we prepared a novel gold nanoparticle (AuNP), named Curto-Cumin AuNP (CC-AuNP), using the biosynthetic process involving Nigella sativa (black cumin) seed extract and membrane vesicles isolated from the novel probiotic strain, Curtobacterium proimmune K3. Various spectrometric and microscopic analyses were performed to characterize the physicochemical properties of the nanoparticles. CC-AuNP exhibited significant cytotoxicity against human gastric adenocarcinoma (AGS) cells but not against normal cells. The toxic effects of the nanoparticles were associated with the excessive production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in damaged mitochondria. Further, we investigated the molecular mechanisms underlying the cytotoxic effect of CC-AuNP. Results showed that except for B cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2), the intracellular apoptotic signaling molecules, such as p53, Bcl-associated X protein (Bax), and Caspase 9/Caspase 3 were significantly upregulated in AGS cells. ROS production and alterations in mitochondrial membrane potential were observed in AGS cells treated with CC-AuNP. The activation of autophagy flux-related biomarkers, such as LC3b/a, Beclin-1, p62, and Caspase 8, was confirmed by qPCR and western blotting. Autophagy pathway was suppressed in CC-AuNP-treated AGS cells and could not proceed further to the mature state. This was confirmed by the evaluation of both apoptosis and autophagy signaling pathways using autophagy-induced AGS cells treated with rapamycin, a well-studied autophagy activator. Overall, our results showed that CC-AuNP upregulates apoptotic signaling and suppresses the autophagy-related signaling pathway, and thus has potential as an anticancer agent. To our knowledge, the present study is the first to demonstrate that CC-AuNP may serve as novel therapeutic agent against gastric cancer. Furthermore, our study provides preliminary data which can be used to develop novel anticancer candidates and understand their anticancer mechanisms, and seems to be a good starting point for the development of alternative medications based on CC-AuNP.