Downregulation of catalase by CuO nanoparticles via hypermethylation of CpG island II on the catalase promoter
The advent of nanotechnology has led to new applications of copper as antibiotic treatment alternatives, nanocomposite coatings, catalysts, and lubricants among others. However, few studies address the impact of nano-size copper on the molecular mechanism of eukaryotic cells. Therefore, in the present study, the human hepatic cell line (WRL-68) was used to evaluate the molecular mechanism involved in the adverse effect of CuO NPs. CuO NPs were characterized by scanning electron microscopy and dynamic light scattering to confirm their 100 nm size and their purity was determined by Fourier transform infra-red spectroscopy. The side scattered intensity in WRL-68 cells at a CuO NP concentration of 250, 500, 750 and 1000 μM was found to be 108.83%, 126.86%, 189.03% and 250.88% respectively. The reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation at a CuO NP concentration of 1000 μM in WRL-68 cells was 417.75%. Moreover, the ROS induced methylation of CpG island II on the catalase promoter and downregulated catalase expression at the transcriptional level in WRL-68 cells. Furthermore, the activity of the catalase enzyme was found to decrease with an increase in concentration of CuO NPs. Subsequently, the proliferation of the WRL-68 cells was increased on exposure to the CuO NPs as demonstrated by the mitochondrial activity in the MTT assay. Conclusively, it is demonstrated that exposure of CuO NPs at 1000 μM for 24 h in the WRL-68 cell induced methylation of CpG island II via ROS on the catalase promoter and downregulated catalase expression at the transcriptional level. The obtained molecular mechanistic insights described adverse effects related to the CuO NPs.