Monitoring Cytoskeletal Conductance Variation for Sensing Cancer Drug Resistance
Actin and microtubules form cellular cytoskeletal network, which mediates cell shape, motility and proliferation and are key targets for cancer therapy. Changes in cytoskeletal organization correlate with proliferative capacity and invasiveness of cancer cells. These changes expectedly lead to altered mechanical and nonmechanical properties including electrical conductivity of cells. LACDR Scientist Alireza Mashaghi and co-workers applied, for the first time, microtubule and actin based electrical measurement to monitor changes in the electrical properties of breast cancer cells upon administration of anti-tubulin and anti-actin drugs. The scientists found that treatment with Mebendazole (MBZ), a microtubule destabilizing agent, decreases electrical resistance while treatment with Paclitaxel (PTX), a microtubule stabilizing agent, leads to an increase in electrical resistance. In contrast, actin destabilizing agents, Cytochalasin D (CytD), and actin stabilizing agent, Phalloidin, lead to an increased and decreased electrical resistance, respectively. The results, published in a 2019 issue of ACS Sensors, thus provides proof-of-principle of the usage of determining the electrical function of cytoskeletal compartments in grading of cancer as well as drug resistance assays.