Characterization of DNA damage induced by 3,4-estrone-o-quinone in human cells

Louise M. Nutter, Emily O. Ngo, Yusuf J. Abul-Hajj

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121 Scopus citations


The DNA damage induced in a human breast cancer cell line treated with 1,5 (10)-estradiene-3,4,17-trione (3,4-estrone-o-quinone; 3,4-EQ) has been measured qualitatively and quantitatively. Single-strand (ss) but not double-strand (ds) DNA breaks were formed in MCF-7 cells treated with 3,4-EQ. The ss DNA breaks formed in MCF-7 cells were partially repaired after incubation of cells in 3,4-EQ-free media for 2 and 4 h (i.e. 33 and 23% repair, respectively, as compared to the ss DNA breaks in cells after a 1-h exposure to 3,4-EQ without a recovery period). The formation of interstrand DNA cross-links was demonstrated in MCF-7 cells exposed to the bifunctional alkylating agent, mitomycin C, but not in those exposed to 3,4-EQ. Protein-linked DNA breaks were detected in MCF-7 cells after exposure to camptothecin and etoposide but not 3,4-EQ, suggesting that the ss DNA breaks induced by 3,4-EQ are unlikely to be mediated via topoisomerases. The induction of ss DNA breaks was detected in the estrogen receptor-negative cell line, BT-20, after exposure to 3,4-EQ. Furthermore, excess estradiol in culture media did not prevent 3,4-EQ-induced ss DNA breaks, suggesting that the DNA damage was not mediated via the estrogen receptor. Evaluation of the newly synthesized quinone analogue, 5,6,7,8-tetrahydro-1-2-naphthoquinone, in the ss DNA breakage assay revealed that the A and B ring moiety of 3,4-EQ is sufficient to produce ss DNA breaks in MCF-7 cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16380-16386
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number25
StatePublished - 1991


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