Ultra-small TiO2 nanoparticles disrupt microtubular networks in Arabidopsis thaliana

Songhu Wang, Jasmina Kurepa, Jan A. Smalle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


In spite of the mounting concerns, current understanding of the extent and mechanisms of phytotoxicity of manufactured nanomaterials remains limited. Here we show that in Arabidopsis thaliana, ultra-small anatase TiO2 nanoparticles cause reorganization and elimination of microtubules followed by the accelerated and 26S proteasome-dependent degradation of tubulin monomers. Similar to other microtubule-disrupting agents, TiO2 nanoparticles induce isotropic growth of root cells. Because microtubules are essential for the normal function of all eukaryotic cells, these results reveal a potentially important consequence of environmental pollution by this widely used nanomaterial.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)811-820
Number of pages10
JournalPlant, Cell and Environment
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011


  • 26S proteasome
  • Anatase TiO nanoparticles
  • Arabidopsis thaliana
  • Microtubules
  • Nanotoxicity biomarker
  • Tubulin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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