The Interaction of the Microtubule Targeting Anticancer Drug Colchicine with Human Glutathione Transferases

Curr Pharm Des. 2020;26(40):5205-5212. doi: 10.2174/1381612826666200724154711.


Background: Glutathione transferases (GSTs) are a family of Phase II detoxification enzymes that have been shown to be involved in the development of multi-drug resistance (MDR) mechanism toward chemotherapeutic agents. GST inhibitors have, therefore, emerged as promising chemosensitizers to manage and reverse MDR. Colchicine (COL) is a classical antimitotic, tubulin-binding agent (TBA) which is being explored as anticancer drug.

Methods: In the present work, the interaction of COL and its derivative 2,3-didemethylcolchicine (2,3-DDCOL) with human glutathione transferases (hGSTA1-1, hGSTP1-1, hGSTM1-1) was investigated by inhibition analysis, molecular modelling and molecular dynamics simulations.

Results: The results showed that both compounds bind reversibly to human GSTs and behave as potent inhibitors. hGSTA1-1 was the most sensitive enzyme to inhibition by COL with IC50 22 μΜ. Molecular modelling predicted that COL overlaps with both the hydrophobic (H-site) and glutathione binding site (G-site) and polar interactions appear to be the driving force for its positioning and recognition at the binding site. The interaction of COL with other members of GST family (hGSTA2-2, hGSTM3-3, hGSTM3-2) was also investigated with similar results.

Conclusion: The results of the present study might be useful in future drug design and development efforts towards human GSTs.

Keywords: Cancer; Phase II detoxification enzymes; antimitotic; colchicine; glutathione transferase; multi-drug resistance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents* / pharmacology
  • Colchicine*
  • Glutathione
  • Glutathione Transferase
  • Humans
  • Microtubules


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Glutathione Transferase
  • Glutathione
  • Colchicine