DNA strand scission by activated bleomycin group antibiotics

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The bleomycins (BLMs) are a structurally related group of antitumor antibiotics used clinically for the treatment of certain malignancies. The mechanism of action of the BLM is believed to involve DNA strand scission, a process that requires O2 and an appropriate metal ion; the therapeutically relevant metal is probably iron or copper. DNA strand scission by activated Fe-BLM involves oxygenation C-4' of deoxyribose and leads to two sets of products. One set results from scission of the C-3' - C-4' bond of deoxyribose, with concomitant cleavage of the DNA chain. The other set of products consists of free bases and an alkali-labile lesion, the latter of which leads to DNA chain cleavage on subsequent treatment with base. The structures of all of these degradation products have now been established by direct comparison with authentic synthetic samples. Also studied was the activation of BLM with (mono)oxygen surrogates such as iodosobenzene. The chemistry of the activated BLM so formed was remarkably similar to that of activated cytochrome P-450 and structurally related metalloporphyrins, which suggests a mechanistic analogy between the two. Remarkably, both Fe-BLM and Cu-BLM were also shown to be activated by NADPH cytochrome P-450 reductase in a transformation that was dependent on metal ion, O2 and NADPH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2784-2791
Number of pages8
JournalFederation Proceedings
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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