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ACS Chem Biol. 2007 Jun 15;2(6):399-407. Epub 2007 May 25.

Mitomycin-DNA adducts induce p53-dependent and p53-independent cell death pathways.

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The Institute for Biomolecular Structure and Function and Department of Biological Sciences, Hunter College and Graduate School, City University of New York, New York 10021, USA.


10-Decarbamoyl-mitomycin C (DMC), a mitomycin C (MC) derivative, generates an array of DNA monoadducts and interstrand cross-links stereoisomeric to those that are generated by MC. DMC was previously shown in our laboratory to exceed the cytotoxicity of MC in a human leukemia cell line that lacks a functional p53 pathway (K562). However, the molecular signal transduction pathway activated by DMCDNA adducts has not been investigated. In this study, we have compared molecular targets associated with signaling pathways activated by DMC and MC in several human cancer cell lines. In cell lines lacking wild-type p53, DMC was reproducibly more cytotoxic than MC, but it generated barely detectable signal transduction markers associated with apoptotic death. Strikingly, DMCs increased cytotoxicity was not associated with an increase in DNA double-strand breaks but was associated with early poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) activation and Chk1 kinase depletion. Alkylating agents can induce increased PARP activity associated with programmed necrosis, and the biological activity of DMC in p53-null cell lines fits this paradigm. In cell lines with a functional p53 pathway, both MC and DMC induced apoptosis. In the presence of p53, both MC and DMC activate procaspases; however, the spectrum of procaspases involved differs for the two drugs, as does induction of p73. These studies suggest that in the absence of p53, signaling to molecular targets in cell death can shift in response to different DNA adduct structures to induce non-apoptotic cell death.

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