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Allicin inhibits cell polarization, migration and division via its direct effect on microtubules.

Authors
  • Prager-Khoutorsky, Masha
  • Goncharov, Igor
  • Rabinkov, Aharon
  • Mirelman, David
  • Geiger, Benjamin
  • Bershadsky, Alexander D
Type
Published Article
Journal
Cell motility and the cytoskeleton
Publication Date
May 01, 2007
Volume
64
Issue
5
Pages
321–337
Identifiers
PMID: 17323373
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Allicin (diallyl thiosulfinate) is a major biologically active component of garlic that is known to inhibit cell proliferation and induce apoptosis. The effects of allicin are attributed to its ability to react with thiol groups. However, the mechanism underlying the cytostatic activity of allicin, as well as the identity of the relevant subcellular targets, are not known. In the present study, we found that the effects of allicin on cell polarization, migration, and mitosis are similar to the effects of microtubule-depolymerizing drugs such as nocodazole. Moreover, treatment of cultured fibroblasts with micromolar doses of allicin results in microtubule depolymerization in cells within minutes of its application, without disrupting the actin cytoskeleton or inducing direct cytotoxic effects. Furthermore, allicin blocks the polymerization of pure tubulin in vitro in a concentration-dependent manner, suggesting that it acts directly on tubulin dimers. Sulfhydryl (SH)-reducing reagents such as 2-mercaptoethanol and dithiothreitol abolish the effect of allicin on microtubule polymerization. Thus, allicin is a potent microtubule-disrupting reagent interfering with tubulin polymerization by reaction with tubulin SH groups.

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