Assessment of cell cycle phase-specific effects of zerumbone on mitotically synchronous surface cultures of Physarum polycephalum

Protoplasma. 2014 Jul;251(4):931-41. doi: 10.1007/s00709-013-0605-9. Epub 2014 Jan 15.


Zerumbone, a natural cyclic sesquiterpene, has been the focus of recent research as it has been found to exhibit selective toxicity towards cancer cells compared to normal cells. Studies on the cell cycle phase-specific effects of this interesting compound, however, remain sparse. Hence, concentration and time-dependent effects of zerumbone were evaluated employing a suitable model system, the naturally synchronous surface cultures of Physarum polycephalum. Zerumbone treatment in S, early, and late G2 phases resulted in G2 arrest. Early G2 phase exhibited the highest sensitivity (P < 0.001) to the compound. Protein profiles showed a complete inhibition of cyclin B1 expression following zerumbone treatment. Furthermore, FACS and comet analysis revealed that zerumbone inhibited DNA synthesis (P < 0.001) without being genotoxic at the concentrations tested. Differential display of mRNA showed distinct zerumbone-induced variations in transcript profiles, an analysis of which suggested a likely link between cellular networks involving stress-related gene expression and G2 arrest in P. polycephalum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Cycle / drug effects*
  • G2 Phase Cell Cycle Checkpoints / drug effects
  • Physarum polycephalum / cytology*
  • Physarum polycephalum / drug effects*
  • Physarum polycephalum / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Sesquiterpenes / pharmacology*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • zerumbone