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J Proteome Res. 2011 Feb 4;10(2):379-93. doi: 10.1021/pr100723d. Epub 2010 Dec 21.

DIGE-based protein expression analysis of B[a]P-exposed hepatoma cells reveals a complex stress response including alterations in oxidative stress, cell cycle control, and cytoskeleton motility at toxic and subacute concentrations.

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Department of Proteomics, UFZ, Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig, Germany.


Although the effects of high concentrations of the carcinogen benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) have been studied extensively, little is known about its effects at subacute toxic concentrations, which are typical for environmental pollutants. We exposed murine Hepa1c1c7 cells to a toxic concentration (5 μM) and a subacute concentration (50 nM) of B[a]P over a period of 2-24 h to differentiate between acute and pseudochronic effects and conducted a time-course analysis of B[a]P-influenced protein expression by DIGE. In total, a set of 120 spots were found to be significantly altered due to B[a]P exposure of which 112 were subsequently identified by mass spectrometry. Clustering and principal component analysis were conducted to identify sets of proteins responding in a concerted manner to the exposure. Our results indicate an immediate response to the contaminant at the protein level and demonstrate that B[a]P exposure alters the cellular response by disturbing proteins involved in oxidative stress, cell cycle regulation, apoptosis, and cytoskeleton organization. Furthermore, network analysis of protein-protein interactions revealed a complex network of interacting, B[a]P-regulated proteins mostly belonging to the cytoskeleton organization and several signal transduction pathways.

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