Carbon Nanomaterials Alter Global Gene Expression Profiles


Carbon nanomaterials (CNMs), which include carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and their derivatives, have diverse technological and biomedical applications. The potential toxicity of CNMs to cells and tissues has become an important emerging question in nanotechnology. To assess the toxicity of CNTs and fullerenol C60(OH)24, we in the present work used the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, one of the simplest eukaryotic organisms that share fundamental aspects of eukaryotic cell biology. We found that treatment with CNMs, regardless of their physical shape, negatively affected the growth rates, end-point cell densities and doubling times of CNM-exposed yeast cells when compared to unexposed cells. To investigate potential mechanisms behind the CNMs-induced growth defects, we performed RNA-Seq dependent transcriptional analysis and constructed global gene expression profiles of fullerenol C60(OH)24- and CNT-treated cells. When compared to non-treated control cells, CNM-treated cells displayed differential expression of genes whose functions are implicated in membrane transporters and stress response, although differentially expressed genes were not consistent between CNT- and fullerenol C60(OH)24-treated groups, leading to our conclusion that CNMs could serve as environmental toxic factors to eukaryotic cells.


Chemistry and Biochemistry

Document Type




carbon nanotube, fullerenols, gene expression, toxicity, viability

Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology