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Mutat Res. 1989 Mar;225(3):101-6.

Specificity of the interaction of furfural with DNA.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Life Sciences, Aligarh Muslim University, India.


Furfural or 2-furaldehyde is a dietary mutagen and is present in various frequently consumed food products. The alkaline unwinding assay and protection of cleavage sites from the action of various restriction enzymes was used to study the interaction of furfural with DNA. Alkaline unwinding experiments showed the formation of an increasing number of strand breaks in duplex DNA both with increasing furfural concentration and with time of reaction. Treatment of lambda phage DNA with furfural protected cleavage with restriction endonucleases DraI and SspI but not with ApaI, BssHII and SacII. These results indicate that under the conditions used furfural reacts exclusively with AT base pairs. A minimum of 3-4 consecutive AT base pairs are required for this reaction. This was determined by the use of several restriction enzymes whose hexanucleotide recognition sequences contain subsets of AT base pairs.

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