Most cancer cells have telomerase activity because they can express the human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) gene. Therefore, the inhibition of the hTERT expression can play an important role in controlling cancer cell proliferation. Our current study aims to inhibit hTERT expression. For this, we synthesized graphene oxide (GO) and a functionalized multiwall carbon nanotube (f-MWCNT), latter treated them with cold atmospheric pressure plasma for further analysis of the hTERT expression. The inhibition of hTERT expression by GO, f-MWCNT, plasma activated GO solution (PGOS), and plasma activated f-MWCNT solution (PCNTS), was studied using two lung cancer cell lines, A549 and H460. The hTERT experimental results revealed that GO and PGOS sufficiently decreased the hTERT concentration, while f-MWCNT and PCNTS were unable to inhibit the hTERT concentration. Therefore, to understand the inhibition mechanism of hTERT, we studied the binding properties of GO and PGOS with telomere binding protein (AtTRB2). The interaction studies were carried out using circular dichroism, fluorescence, 1H-15N NMR spectroscopy, and size-exclusion chromatography (SEC) binding assay. We also used docking simulation to have an better understanding of the interactions between GO nanosheets and AtTRB2 protein. Our results may provide new insights that can benefit in biomedical treatments.
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