Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition. 2012 Nov;51(3):221-6. doi: 10.3164/jcbn.12-39. Epub 2012 Sep 5. [Link]

Kubo Y, Takenaka H, Nagai H, Toyokuni S.

Department of Pathology and Biological Responses, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya 466-8550, Japan.


The inhalation of asbestos is a risk factor for the development of malignant mesothelioma and lung cancer. Based on the broad surface area of asbestos fibers and their ability to enter the cytoplasm and nuclei of cells, it was hypothesized that proteins that adsorb onto the fiber surface play a role in the cytotoxicity and carcinogenesis of asbestos fibers. However, little is known about which proteins adsorb onto asbestos. Previously, we systematically identified asbestos-interacting proteins and classified them into eight sub-categories: chromatin/nucleotide/RNA-binding proteins, ribosomal proteins, cytoprotective proteins, cytoskeleton-associated proteins, histones and hemoglobin. Here, we report an adsorption profile of proteins for the three commercially used asbestos compounds: chrysotile, crocidolite and amosite. We quantified the amounts of adsorbed proteins by analyzing the silver-stained gels of sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis with ImageJ software, using the bands for amosite as a standard. We found that histones were most adsorptive to crocidolite and that chromatin-binding proteins were most adsorptive to chrysotile. The results suggest that chrysotile and crocidolite directly interact with chromatin structure through different mechanisms. Furthermore, RNA-binding proteins preferably interacted with chrysotile, suggesting that chrysotile may interfere with transcription and translation. Our results provide novel evidence demonstrating that the specific molecular interactions leading to carcinogenesis are different between chrysotile and crocidolite.