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

Human CYP2A6 activation of 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK): mutational specificity in the gpt gene of AS52 cells.

The tobacco-specific nitrosamine 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1- butanone (NNK) is a potential human carcinogen that is known to be metabolized to DNA-reactive intermediates by the cytochromes P450. We have examined the nature of NNK's DNA damaging effects in a mammalian cell system expressing a specific human cytochrome P450 (2A6) and containing a target gene for mutagenesis. Human CYP2A6, which is known to activate NNK to a mutagen, was lipofected via a retroviral vector into the Chinese hamster ovary AS52 cell line, which contains the bacterial gpt gene and can be mutated to 6-thioguanine resistance. AS52 cells expressed negligible CYP2A6-specific coumarin 7-hydroxylase activity (0.7 pmol/ mg protein/min), while a CYP2A6 transfected clone (AS52-E8) expressed 30 pmol/ mg protein/min. Both cell lines were equally sensitive to the cytotoxic and mutagenic effects of the direct-acting mutagen ethylmethanesulfonate; however, only the AS52-E8 cells exhibited a dose-dependent increase in cytotoxicity and mutant frequency upon treatment with NNK. At the highest NNK dose (1200 micrograms/ml), the mutant frequency in AS52-E8 cells was 14-fold (339 x 10(-6)) greater than the spontaneous frequency of 24 x 10(-6). Ninty-eight mutant clones were isolated following NNK treatment. Based on PCR analysis, 21 clones contained deletions/rearrangements and 77 were putative point mutants. Sequencing potential point mutants showed that 81% contained G:C to A:T transitions. Four of six G:C to A:T hotspots were at the second G of the GGT motif, which is the motif and major mutation found in codon 12 of Ki-ras from NNK-induced lung tumors in strain A mice. Since NNK may be metabolized via different pathways to pyridyloxobutylate or methylate DNA, the data suggest that methylation damage causes the major mutagenic events in AS52-E8 cells when NNK is activated by human CYP2A6.[1]


  1. Human CYP2A6 activation of 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK): mutational specificity in the gpt gene of AS52 cells. Tiano, H.F., Wang, R.L., Hosokawa, M., Crespi, C., Tindall, K.R., Langenbach, R. Carcinogenesis (1994) [Pubmed]
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