Benzene and dopamine catechol quinones could initiate cancer or neurogenic disease

Muhammad Zahid, Muhammad Saeed, Eleanor G. Rogan, Ercole L. Cavalieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Catechol quinones of estrogens react with DNA by 1,4-Michael addition to form depurinating N3Ade and N7Gua adducts. Loss of these adducts from DNA creates apurinic sites that can generate mutations leading to cancer initiation. We compared the reactions of the catechol quinones of the leukemogenic benzene (CAT-Q) and N-acetyldopamine (NADA-Q) with 2′-deoxyguanosine (dG) or DNA. NADA was used to prevent intramolecular cyclization of dopamine quinone. Reaction of CAT-Q or NADA-Q with dG at pH 4 afforded CAT-4-N7dG or NADA-6-N7dG, which lost deoxyribose with a half-life of 3 h to form CAT-4-N7Gua or 4 h to form NADA-6-N7Gua. When CAT-Q or NADA-Q was reacted with DNA, N3Ade adducts were formed and lost from DNA instantaneously, whereas N7Gua adducts were lost over several hours. The maximum yield of adducts in the reaction of CAT-Q or NADA-Q with DNA at pH 4 to 7 was at pH 4. When tyrosinase-activated CAT or NADA was reacted with DNA at pH 5 to 8, adduct levels were much higher (10- to 15-fold), and the highest yield was at pH 5. Reaction of catechol quinones of natural and synthetic estrogens, benzene, naphthalene, and dopamine with DNA to form depurinating adducts is a common feature that may lead to initiation of cancer or neurodegenerative disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)318-324
Number of pages7
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2010


  • 1,4-Michael addition
  • Catechol quinones
  • Depurinating DNA adducts
  • Kinetics of depurination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


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