CAS number 31430-18-9 YesY
Jmol-3D images Image 1
Molecular formula C14H11N3O3S
Molar mass 301.3 g/mol
Appearance White with faint yellow cast powder
Melting point

256 °C, 529 K, 493 °F

Solubility in water approximately 10 mg/mL in DMSO
 N (verify) (what is: YesY/N?)
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Infobox references

Nocodazole is an anti-neoplastic agent which exerts its effect in cells by interfering with the polymerization of microtubules. Microtubules are one type of fibre which constitutes the cytoskeleton, and the dynamic microtubule network has several important roles in the cell, including vesicular transport, forming the mitotic spindle and in cytokinesis.

Several drugs including vincristine and colcemid are similar to nocodazole in that they interfere with microtubule polymerisation.

Use in cell biology research

As nocodazole affects the cytoskeleton, it is often used in cell biology experiments as a control: for example, some dominant negative Rho small GTPases cause a similar effect as nocodazole, and constitutively activated mutants often reverse or negate the effect.

Nocodazole is frequently used in cell biology laboratories to synchronize the cell division cycle. Cells treated with nocodazole arrest with a G2- or M-phase DNA content when analysed by flow cytometry. Microscopy of nocodazole-treated cells shows that they do enter mitosis but cannot form metaphase spindles because microtubules (of which the spindles are made) cannot polymerise. The absence of microtubule attachment to kinetochores activates the spindle assembly checkpoint, causing the cell to arrest in prometaphase. For cell synchronization experiments, nocodazole is usually used at a concentration of 40-100 ng/mL of culture medium for a duration of 12-18 hrs. Prolonged arrest of cells in mitosis due to nocodazole treatment typically results in cell death by apoptosis.

Another standard cell biological application of nocodazole is to induce the formation of Golgi ministacks in eukaryotic cells. The perinuclear structural organization of the Golgi apparatus in eukaryotes is dependent on microtubule trafficking, but disrupting the trafficking of Golgi elements from the endoplasmic reticulum treatment with nocodazole (33 uM for 3 hours works) induces numerous Golgi elements to form adjacent to ER exit sites. These functional Golgi ministacks remain distributed about the cell, unable to track forward to form a perinuclear Golgi since nocodazole has depolymerized the microtubules.


Nocodazole can be prepared from (4-fluorophenyl)(thiophen-2-yl)methanone:[1] Nocodazole.svg


  1. ^ Van Gelder, J.; Roevens, L. F. C.; Belgians, L. H.; Rayemaekers, A. H. M; 1972, U.S. Patent 3,657,267.

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