Journal Article

O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase activity in human buccal mucosal tissue and cell cultures. Complex mixtures related to habitual use of tobacco and betel quid inhibit the activity in vitro.

Y Liu, S Egyhazi, J Hansson, S V Bhide, P S Kulkarni and R C Grafström

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 18, issue 10, pages 1889-1895
Published in print October 1997 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online October 1997 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/18.10.1889
O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase activity in human buccal mucosal tissue and cell cultures. Complex mixtures related to habitual use of tobacco and betel quid inhibit the activity in vitro.

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Extracts prepared from tissue specimens of normal, non-tumourous human buccal mucosa, and cultured buccal epithelial cells and fibroblasts, exhibited O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) activity by catalysing the repair of the premutagenic O6-methylguanine lesion in isolated DNA with rates of 0.2 to 0.3 pmol/mg protein. An SV40 T antigen-immortalized buccal epithelial cell line termed SVpgC2a and a buccal squamous carcinoma line termed SqCC/Y1, both of which lack normal tumour suppressor gene p53 function, exhibited about 50 and 10% of the MGMT activity of normal cells, respectively. The normal, experimentally transformed and tumourous buccal cell types showed MGMT mRNA levels which correlated with their respective levels of MGMT activity. Exposure of buccal cell cultures to various organic or water-based extracts of products related to the use of tobacco and betel quid, decreased both cell survival (measured by reduction of tetrazolium dye) and MGMT activity (measured subsequently to the exposures in cellular extracts). Organic extracts of bidi smoke condensate and betel leaf showed higher potency than those of tobacco and snuff. An aqueous snuff extract also decreased both parameters, whereas an aqueous areca nut extract was without effect. The well-established sulph-hydryl-reactive agent Hg2+, a corrosion product of dental amalgam, served as a positive control and decreased MGMT activity following treatment of cells within a range of 1-10 microM. Taken together, significant MGMT activities were demonstrated in buccal tissue specimens and in the major buccal mucosal cell types in vitro. Lower than normal MGMT activity in two transformed buccal epithelial cell lines correlated with decreased MGMT mRNA and lack of functional p53. Finally, in vitro experiments suggested the potential inhibition of buccal mucosal MGMT activity by complex mixtures present in the saliva of tobacco and betel nut chewers.

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Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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