An eco-friendly synthesis of Enterococcus sp.-mediated gold nanoparticle induces cytotoxicity in human colorectal cancer cells

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2020 Mar;27(8):8166-8175. doi: 10.1007/s11356-019-07511-x. Epub 2020 Jan 3.


Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) have become frequently used materials in biotechnological and biomedical applications including cancer. They can be commonly synthesized by biological and chemical methods. In the present study, we synthesized Enterococcus-mediated AuNPs and evaluated their cytotoxicity in human colorectal cancer cell line (HT-29). AuNPs are synthesized intracellularly using Enterococcus sp. RMAA. Characterization of AuNPs has done using UV spectrophotometry and transmission electron microscope. Cytotoxicity was evaluated by MTT assay. Intercellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) expression and apoptosis-related morphology were evaluated by dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate and acridine orange/ethidium bromide staining via fluorescence microscopy. JC-1 staining and caspase 3 immunofluorescence expression were analyzed by confocal microscopy. Enterococcus sp. RMAA-mediated AuNPs are spherical and induced concentration-dependent cytotoxicity in HT-29 cells. AuNP treatments also induced ROS and caspase-3 expressions and reduced the mitochondrial membrane potential. Morphology related to apoptotic changes was also noticed after AuNP treatments in HT-29 cells. The present study revealed that Enterococcus-derived AuNPs induced apoptotic cell death in HT-29 cells and suggests that AuNPs could be used as a pro apoptotic agent for colon cancer treatment.

Keywords: Colorectal cancer; Cytotoxicity; Enterococcus; Gold nanoparticles.

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Colonic Neoplasms*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms*
  • Enterococcus / chemistry*
  • Gold
  • Humans
  • Metal Nanoparticles* / chemistry


  • Gold