Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes Display Microtubule Biomimetic Properties in Vivo, Enhancing Microtubule Assembly and Stabilization

Microtubules are hollow protein cylinders of 25 nm diameter which are implicated in cytokinetics and proliferation in all eukaryotic cells. Here we demonstrate in vivo how multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) interact with microtubules in human cancer cells (HeLa) blocking mitosis and leading to cell death by apoptosis. Our data suggest that, inside the cells, MWCNTs display microtubule biomimetic properties, assisting and enhancing noncentrosomal microtubule polymerization and stabilization. These features might be useful for developing a revolutionary generation of chemotherapeutic agents based on nanomaterials.