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Chem Biol Interact. 1981 Sep;36(3):345-54.

DNA-protein cross-linking by chromium salts.


DNA-protein cross-links were detected in several types of mammalian cells in culture when they were exposed to chromate salts. The cell types included human bronchial epithelial cells--the apparent cell type of origin of the malignancies reported in chromate workers. The level of cross-linking was proportional to the concentration of chromate used. These cross-links appeared to be persistent since no removal was seen after 12 h of repair incubation. A low level of DNA single strand breaks (SSB) were also induced after exposure of the cells to chromate but were rejoined after 4 h of repair incubation. The active form of chromium appears to be the trivalent since chromic but not chromate salts induced DNA-protein cross-links in isolated nuclei. Chromic salts also produced cross-linking between DNA and protein in solution while the hexavalent form was inactive. These data imply that chromate crosses the cell membrane, is reduced to the trivalent form and induces stable linkages of DNA to protein.

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