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

In vitro plasmid DNA cleavage by chromium(V) and -(IV) 2-hydroxycarboxylato complexes.

The ability of relatively stable Cr(V) and Cr(IV) complexes with 2-hydroxycarboxylato ligands [2-ethyl-2-hydroxybutanoate(2-) = ehba; (1R,3R,4R,5R)-1,3,4,5-tetrahydroxycyclohexanecarboxylate(2-) = quinate = qa] to induce single-strand breaks in plasmid DNA has been studied under a wide range of reaction conditions. The Cr(V) complex, Na[CrVO(ehba)2], causes substantial DNA cleavage at pH 4.0-8.0 [[Cr(V)]0 = 0.010-0.75 mM, phosphate buffer, and 37 degrees C]. The DNA cleavage is inhibited by the presence of excess ligand, by exclusion of O2, or by addition of organic compounds, such as alcohols, carboxylic acids, or DMSO, but it is not affected by traces of catalytic metals [Fe(III) or Cu(II)] or by addition of catalase. The Cr(IV)-qa complexes, unlike the Cr(V) complexes, are able to cleave DNA in the presence of the ligand in a large excess [[Cr(IV)]0 = 0.50 mM, [qa] = 20-100 mM, pH 3.5-6.0, and 37 degrees C]. This is the first direct evidence for DNA cleavage induced by well-characterized Cr(IV) complexes. The proposed mechanism for DNA cleavage includes the following: (i) partial aquation of the bis-chelated Cr(V) and -(IV) complexes with the formation of reactive monochelated forms, (ii) binding of the Cr(V) and -(IV) monochelates to the phosphate backbone of DNA, (iii) one- or two-electron oxidations at the deoxyribose moieties of DNA by Cr(V) and -(IV), and (iv) cleavage of the resulting DNA radicals or cations with or without participation of O2. The patterns of DNA damage by Cr(V) and -(IV) can include strand breaks, generation of abasic sites, and the formation of Cr(III)-DNA complexes.[1]


  1. In vitro plasmid DNA cleavage by chromium(V) and -(IV) 2-hydroxycarboxylato complexes. Levina, A., Barr-David, G., Codd, R., Lay, P.A., Dixon, N.E., Hammershøi, A., Hendry, P. Chem. Res. Toxicol. (1999) [Pubmed]
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