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Mol Cell Biochem. 1999 Sep;199(1-2):149-62.

Analysis of EDTA-chelatable proteins from DNA-protein crosslinks induced by a carcinogenic chromium(VI) in cultured intact human cells.

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Center for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, USA.


DNA-protein crosslinks (DPCs) were induced in intact human leukemic T-lymphocyte MOLT4 cells or isolated nuclei by treatment with potassium chromate, chromium(III) chloride hexahydrate or x-rays. The proteins complexed to DNA were analyzed by two-dimensional SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE). A group of identical non-histone proteins was crosslinked to DNA by any of the three treatments, except that a 51 kDa basic protein was additionally complexed to DNA when either potassium chromate or chromium(III) chloride hexahydrate was the crosslinking agent. Treatment of chromate-induced DNA-protein crosslinks with EDTA or thiourea followed by ultracentifugation dissociated the major proteins from the complex indicating that these proteins were crosslinked to DNA by direct participation of a EDTA-chelatable form of chromium such as Cr(III) through sulfur containing amino acid residues. The 51 kDa protein was not seen in the post-EDTA pellet but was present in the post-thiourea pellet, indicating that it was also crosslinked to DNA by Cr(III) through non-sulfur-containing amino acids. Digestion of x-rays-induced DPCs by DNase I also revealed this protein on two-dimensional gels indicating that the same protein was also crosslinked by oxidative mechanisms. The involvement of oxidative mechanisms in the crosslinking process was indicated as the majority of the proteins in chromate-induced DPCs were resistant to EDTA and thiourea treatment, and were found to crosslink to DNA when x-rays were used as the crosslinking agent. These results suggest that the chromate-induced DPCs are formed by the generation of reactive oxygen species during the intracellular chromate reduction as well as by the biologically generated Cr(III). About 19% of DNA-protein crosslinks actually involve Cr(III) crosslinking DNA to proteins, of which about 14% involve Cr(III) crosslinking DNA to proteins through non-sulfhydryl containing moieties and about 5% involve Cr(III) crosslinking DNA to sulfhydryl groups on proteins. The remaining 81% of DNA-protein crosslinks appear to be oxidatively crosslinked out of which about 45% appear to be through sulfhydryl groups and another 36% appear to be through non-sulfhydryl groups.

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