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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Glutathione activation of chloropicrin in the Salmonella mutagenicity test.

Chloropicrin (CCl3NO2) is a major soil fumigant for control of fungi, insects and nematodes and may by formed by chlorination of drinking water. It is also a strong lacrimator and induces sister chromatid exchanges in cultured human lymphocytes. Mutagenicity assays of CCl3NO2 in Salmonella typhimurium TA100 establish that it is toxic but not mutagenic at 500 nmol/plate but becomes mutagenic but not toxic on addition of S9 (previous work) or 1-2 molar equivalents of glutathione (GSH) (this study). The preincubation assay is superior to the plate incorporation test giving 2-4-fold higher revertants/nmol. Using the preincubation assay with GSH at 5 mM (a biomimetic level) in the top agar gives linear dose-response relationships for CCl3NO2 and its dechlorination products CHCl2NO2 and CH2ClNO2 with 0.56, 0.56 and 1.8 revertants/nmol, respectively. The mutagenicity values for CHCl2NO2 and CH2ClNO2 are the same in the presence and the absence of GSH, which only improves the linearity at high levels by reducing toxicity to the bacteria. GSH activation of CCl3NO2 mutagenicity may be due to reductive dechlorination of the trichloro compound to the more active CHCl2NO2 and CH2ClNO2. Alternatively, the mutagenicity may result from an intermediate GSH conjugate such as GSCCl2NO2 or GSCHClNO2. In comparison, the mutagenicity of CH2Br2 and CH2I2 is affected little if any by addition of GSH and these dihalomethanes are much less active than the halonitromethane series. It therefore appears that CCl3NO2 is not mutagenic in the absence of activation and that the dechlorinated metabolites CHCl2NO2 and CH2ClNO2 are moderately potent bacterial mutagens, consistent with the possible genotoxicity of CCl3NO2 in mammals.[1]


  1. Glutathione activation of chloropicrin in the Salmonella mutagenicity test. Schneider, M., Quistad, G.B., Casida, J.E. Mutat. Res. (1999) [Pubmed]
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