Specific Labeling of O6-Alkylguanine-DNA Alkyltransferase by Reaction with O6-(p-Hydroxy[3H]methylbenzyl)guanine

Gina M. Ciocco, Anthony E. Pegg, Patricia J. McLaughlin, Ian S. Zagon, Robert C. Moschel, Mi Young Chae

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18 Scopus citations


O6-Alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (AGT) is an important DNA repair protein that removes adducts from the O6 position of guanine by transferring them to a cysteine residue within its amino acid sequence. Mammalian AGTs are readily inactivated by incubation with (N-benzyl-guanine (BG), which is an alternative substrate for the protein. To examine this inactivation in more detail and to develop a procedure for the specific labeling of human AGT, we synthesized a BG derivative, O6-(p-nydroxy[3H]methylbenzyl)guanine ([3H]HMBG) and examined its interaction with AGT in HT29 cell extracts and in HT29 cells. Incubation of human AGT with [3H]HMBG led to the incorporation of radioactivity in the protein in a time- and temperature-dependent manner. This reaction was specific, since neither AGT that was first inactivated by reaction with BG nor proteins other than AGT were labeled. Digestion of the labeled AGT with trypsin showed that a single peptide contained the label. Sequencing of this peptide indicated that the label was bound to cysteine-145. These results demonstrate that AGT accepts HMBG as a substrate and becomes inactivated by transfer of a p-hydroxymethylbenzyl residue to the cysteine-145 acceptor site. When [3H]HMBG was added to cultures of HT29 cells which are Mer+ and express active AGT, radioactivity was incorporated in a macromolecule and could be detected by autoradiography. No such labeling occurred with BE or CHO cells, which are Mer− and lack AGT. Examination of the interaction of [3H]HMBG with mutant AGT proteins that differ greatly in their abilities to react with BG showed that there was a strong correlation between the reaction with BG and the labeling with [3H]HMBG. These results indicate that [3H]HMBG is a potentially useful reagent for the detection and localization of AGT activity and for the investigation of its mechanism of action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4085-4091
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Research
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 15 1995

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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