PCNA damage caused by antineoplastic drugs

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Structurally diverse chemotherapeutic and chemopreventive drugs, including camptothecin, doxorubicin, sanguinarine, and others, were found to cause covalent crosslinking of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) trimers in mammalian cells exposed to fluorescent light. This PCNA damage was caused by both nuclear and cytoplasmically localizing drugs. For some drugs, the PCNA crosslinking was evident even with very brief exposures to laboratory room lighting. In the absence of drugs, there was no detectable covalent crosslinking of PCNA trimers. Other proteins were photo-crosslinked to PCNA at much lower levels, including crosslinking of additional PCNA to the PCNA trimer. The proteins photo-crosslinked to PCNA did not vary with cell type or drug. PCNA was not crosslinked to itself or to other proteins by superoxide, hydrogen peroxide or hydroxyl radicals, but hydrogen peroxide caused monoubiquitination of PCNA. Quenching of PCNA photo-crosslinking by histidine, and enhancement by deuterium oxide, suggest a role for singlet oxygen in the crosslinking. SV40 large T antigen hexamers were also efficiently covalently photo-crosslinked by drugs and light. Photodynamic crosslinking of nuclear proteins by cytoplasmically localizing drugs, together with other evidence, argues that these drugs may reach the nucleoplasm in amounts sufficient to photodamage important chromosomal enzymes. The covalent crosslinking of PCNA trimers provides an extremely sensitive biomarker for photodynamic damage. The damage to PCNA and large T antigen raises the possibility that DNA damage signaling and repair mechanisms may be compromised when cells treated with antineoplastic drugs are exposed to visible light.

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