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Biochemistry. 1993 Mar 30;32(12):3188-95.

Spontaneous cleavage of bleomycin-induced abasic sites in chromatin and their mutagenicity in mammalian shuttle vectors.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond 23298-0230.


The stability of oxidized abasic sites induced by bleomycin and neocarzinostatin was examined in chromatin reconstituted from a supercoiled plasmid and core histones. Most of the drug-induced abasic sites were found to undergo spontaneous cleavage in chromatin, probably by reaction with histone amine groups. However, there was considerable heterogeneity in the rate of spontaneous cleavage, with some sites being cleaved almost immediately and some remaining intact even after 7 h. Bleomycin-induced abasic sites with closely opposed strand breaks were more unstable than lone abasic sites. Neocarzinostatin-induced abasic sites, which have a different chemical structure, were cleaved somewhat more slowly than those induced by bleomycin. To assess the mutagenic potential of bleomycin-induced abasic sites, bleomycin-treated shuttle vectors were transfected into mammalian cells, and mutations in progeny plasmids were sequenced. Bleomycin treatment resulted primarily in deletions of various sizes in the shuttle vectors, including a number of one-base deletions occurring at potential bleomycin damage sites. However, under certain conditions, substitutions occurring at expected sites of bleomycin attack were also observed. The results suggest that bleomycin-induced abasic sites have only a slight potential to produce base substitutions in mammalian cells and that a substantial fraction of the double-strand breaks induced by bleomycin and most of the double-strand breaks induced by neocarzinostatin are the result of spontaneous cleavage of abasic sites with closely opposed strand breaks. Inaccurate repair of these double-strand breaks may account for the large deletions, and perhaps the one-base deletions, induced by bleomycin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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