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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1993 Dec 8;1203(2):251-9.

Xenobiotic induction of quinone oxidoreductase activity in lens epithelial cells.

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Laboratory of Mechanisms of Ocular Diseases, National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.


Xenobiotic regulatory elements have been identified for enzymes which ameliorate oxidative damage in cells. Zeta (zeta)-crystallin, a taxon-specific enzyme/crystallin shown to be a novel NADPH-dependent quinone reductase, is found in a number of tissues and cell types. This study shows that zeta-crystallin is present in mouse lens epithelium, as well as in the alpha TN4 mouse lens epithelial cell line. To determine whether zeta-crystallin is an inducible quinone reductase, cell cultures were exposed to the xenobiotics, 1,2-naphthoquinone and beta-naphthoflavone. Assays of cellular homogenates showed that quinone reductase activity was stimulated greater than 70% and 90%, respectively, over the control cells. This observed activity was sensitive to dicumarol, a potent inhibitor of quinone reductase activity. 1,2-Naphthoquinone- and beta-naphthoflavone-exposed cells were found to exhibit 1.47- and 1.68-fold increases, respectively, in zeta-crystallin protein concentration. A comparable increase in zeta-crystallin mRNA was indicative of an induction in zeta-crystallin expression in response to naphthalene challenge. Lens epithelial cells were also checked for DT-diaphorase, a well-known cellular protective enzyme which can catalyze the two-electron reduction of quinones. Slot blot analyses indicated that alpha TN4 cells exposed to 1,2-naphthoquinone and beta-naphthoflavone exhibited 2.71- and 6.81-fold increases in DT-diaphorase concentration when compared to the control cells. The data suggest that while DT-diaphorase is most likely responsible for the majority of the observed increase in quinone reductase activity, the zeta-crystallin gene also undergoes activation which is apparently mediated by a xenobiotic-responsive element.

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