Intracellular protein binding to asbestos induces aneuploidy in human lung fibroblasts

Rebecca MacCorkle, S. D. Slattery, D. R. Nash, B. R. Brinkley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Exposure to the natural mineral fiber asbestos causes severe lung-damaging fibrosis and cancer, yet it continues to be used as an industrial insulating material throughout the world. When cultured human lung cells are exposed to asbestos, individual fibers are engulfed into the cytoplasm where they induce significant mitotic aberrations leading to chromosomal instability and aneuploidy. The mechanisms of how asbestosis ultimately leads to lung cancer remain unclear. However, our experiments indicate that intracellular asbestos fibers induce aneuploidy and chromosome instability by binding to a subset of proteins that include regulators of the cell cycle, cytoskeleton, and mitotic process. Moreover, precoating of fibers with protein complexes efficiently blocked asbestos-induced aneuploidy in human lung cells without affecting their uptake by cells. These results provide new evidence that asbestos fibers can contribute to significant spindle damage and chromosomal instability by binding to proteins needed for the assembly and regulation of the cytoskeleton or the cell cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)646-657
Number of pages12
JournalCell Motility and the Cytoskeleton
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Aneuploidy
  • Asbestos
  • Cell cycle
  • CENP-B
  • Genetic instability
  • Lung cancer
  • Mesothelioma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Intracellular protein binding to asbestos induces aneuploidy in human lung fibroblasts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this