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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2010 Mar 15;243(3):399-404. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2009.12.014. Epub 2009 Dec 28.

Arsenite induced poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation of tumor suppressor P53 in human skin keratinocytes as a possible mechanism for carcinogenesis associated with arsenic exposure.

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The Nelson Institute of Environmental Medicine, NYU Langone School of Medicine, 57 Old Forge Road, Tuxedo, NY 10987, USA.


Arsenite is an environmental pollutant. Exposure to inorganic arsenic in drinking water is associated with elevated cancer risk, especially in skin. Arsenite alone does not cause skin cancer in animals, but arsenite can enhance the carcinogenicity of solar UV. Arsenite is not a significant mutagen at non-toxic concentrations, but it enhances the mutagenicity of other carcinogens. The tumor suppressor protein P53 and nuclear enzyme PARP-1 are both key players in DNA damage response. This laboratory demonstrated earlier that in cells treated with arsenite, the P53-dependent increase in p21(WAF1/CIP1) expression, normally a block to cell cycle progression after DNA damage, is deficient. Here we show that although long-term exposure of human keratinocytes (HaCaT) to a nontoxic concentration (0.1 microM) of arsenite decreases the level of global protein poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation, it increases poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation of P53 protein and PARP-1 protein abundance. We also demonstrate that exposure to 0.1 microM arsenite depresses the constitutive expression of p21 mRNA and P21 protein in HaCaT cells. Poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation of P53 is reported to block its activation, DNA binding and its functioning as a transcription factor. Our results suggest that arsenite's interference with activation of P53 via poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation may play a role in the comutagenic and cocarcinogenic effects of arsenite.

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