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

The in vivo cross-linking of proteins and DNA by heavy metals.

Cross-linking of proteins to DNA in live, intact Novikoff ascites hepatoma cells exposed in vitro to different concentrations of CuSO4, Pb(NO3)2, HgCl2, and AlCl3 was studied. Protein-DNA complexes were separated by high-speed centrifugation of cells solubilized in buffered 4% sodium dodecyl sulfate and assayed by electrophoretic separation of proteins associated with the DNA-containing pellets. Concentration dependence experiments showed that the optimal cross-linking occurred at metal concentration of 0.5 mM for CuSO4, HgCl2, and AlCl3 while the optimal cross-linking for Pb(NO3)2 was at 5 mM. For some metals at concentrations higher than optimal, the amounts of cross-linked proteins decreased significantly. Immunochemical analysis of the cross-linked proteins using antibodies to matrix, chromatin, lamins, and cytokeratin fractions demonstrated that some, but not all, members of these protein families became cross-linked to the DNA. Each metal exhibited a cross-linking pattern of its own, different from those of the other metals. Radioactive labeling experiments showed that all the metals tested became associated with the DNA-protein pellets within 1 h after their addition to the incubation medium. However, hexavalent chromium required more than 2 h before appearing in the DNA-protein pellets in significant amounts.[1]


  1. The in vivo cross-linking of proteins and DNA by heavy metals. Wedrychowski, A., Schmidt, W.N., Hnilica, L.S. J. Biol. Chem. (1986) [Pubmed]
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