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Mutat Res. 1996 Feb 1;349(2):183-91.

Effects of beta- and gamma-carboline derivatives of DNA topoisomerase activities.

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Pharmacology Division, National Cancer Center Research Institute, Tokyo 104, Japan.


beta-Carbolines, harman (1-methyl-9H-pyrido[3,4-b]indole) and norharman (9H-pyrido[3,4-b]indole) and gamma-carbolines, 3-amino-1,4-dimethyl-5H-pyrido[4,3-b]indole (Trp-P-1) and 3-amino-4-methyl-5H-pyrido[4,3-b]indole (Trp-P-2), are present in cooked foods and cigarette smoke. We studied the effects of these heterocyclic amines on the activity of DNA topoisomerases. Trp-P-1 and Trp-P-2 inhibited topoisomerase I (topo I) activity with ED50 values of 1.48 and 1.55 micrograms/ml, respectively, in a relaxation assay. Harman and norharman inhibited topo I activity but with much higher ED50 values, 23.8 and 34.4 micrograms/ml, respectively. Trp-P-1 and Trp-P-2 also inhibited topoisomerase II (topo II) activity at about 50 micrograms/ml, in a decatenation assay. Harman and norharman showed a much lower inhibitory effect on topo II activity. None of these compounds stabilized the cleavable complex mediated by topo II. Trp-P-1 and Trp-P-2 intercalated into DNA at concentrations inhibitory to topoisomerases. We considered that the intercalation with DNA and the inhibition of DNA topoisomerases by heterocyclic amines might be partly related to their inhibition of DNA excision repair and their enhancing effect on UV- or chemically induced mutagenic activity.

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