Neocarzinostatin, a protein antibiotic with anti-tumor activity was found to place single-strand scissions in DNA in an in vitro reaction. The drug's cutting activity was strongly dependent on the presence of 2-mercaptoethanol or dithiothreitol but some cutting did take place in the absence of reducing agent at very high drug levels and prolonged incubation. The requirement for reducing agents could not be replaced with NAD+, FAD, NADH or H2O2 and the strand-scission reaction was not affected by Mg2+, EDTA or intercalating agents. Similar profiles of heat-inactivation of neocarzinostatin were found whether activity was measured by the scission of DNA strands either in vitro or in HeLa cells treated with the drug. Furthermore, both of these parameters corresponded closely with the ability of the modified drug to inhibit DNA synthesis and growth of HeLa cells. By column isoelectric focusing it was shown that all four activities are associated with the same protein band (pH 3.28). From these data we conclude that the cytotoxic activity of neocarzinostatin and the nicking of DNA strands in vitro appear to reside in the same protein. © 1977.
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