Reaction of protein chloramines with DNA and nucleosides: evidence for the formation of radicals, protein-DNA cross-links and DNA fragmentation

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Stimulated phagocyte cells produce the oxidant HOCl, via the release of the enzyme myeloperoxidase and hydrogen peroxide. HOCl is important in bacterial cell killing, but excessive or misplaced generation can damage the host tissue and may lead to the development of certain diseases such as cancer. The role of HOCl in the oxidation of isolated proteins, DNA and their components has been investigated extensively, but little work has been performed on the protein-DNA (nucleosome) complexes present in eukaryotic cell nuclei. Neither the selectivity of damage in such complexes nor the possibility of transfer of damage from the protein to DNA or vice versa, has been studied. In the present study, kinetic modelling has been employed to predict that reaction occurs predominantly with the protein and not with the DNA in the nucleosome, using molar HOCl excesses of up to 200-fold. With 50-200-fold excesses, 50-80% of the HOCl is predicted to react with histone lysine and histidine residues to yield chloramines. The yield and stability of such chloramines predicted by these modelling studies agrees well with experimental data. Decomposition of these species gives protein-derived, nitrogen-centred radicals, probably on the lysine side chains, as characterized by the EPR and spin-trapping experiments. It is shown that isolated lysine, histidine, peptide and protein chloramines can react with plasmid DNA to cause strand breaks. The protection against such damage afforded by the radical scavengers Trolox (a water-soluble alpha-tocopherol derivative) and 5,5-dimethyl-1-pyrroline-N-oxide suggests a radical-mediated process. The EPR experiments and product analyses have also provided evidence for the rapid addition of protein radicals, formed on chloramine decomposition, to pyrimidine nucleosides to give nucleobase radicals. Further evidence for the formation of such covalent cross-links has been obtained from experiments performed using (3)H-lysine and (14)C-histidine chloramines. These results are consistent with the predictions of the kinetic model and suggest that histones are major targets for HOCl in the nucleosome. Furthermore, the resulting protein chloramines and the radicals derived from them may act as contributing agents in HOCl-mediated DNA oxidation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue numberPt 3
Pages (from-to)605-15
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2002

    Research areas

  • Animals, Antioxidants, Chloramines, DNA, DNA Damage, Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy, Free Radicals, Histones, Lysine, Molecular Structure, Nucleosides, Nucleosomes, Plasmids, Proteins, RNA, Spin Trapping, Thymidine

ID: 138278507