This paper reports expanded analyses of benzo[a]pyrene (BP)-DNA adducts formed in vitro by activation with horseradish peroxidase (HRP) or 3-methylcholanthrene-induced rat liver microsomes and in vivo in mouse skin. The adducts formed by BP are compared to those formed by BP-7,8-dihydrodiol and anti-EP diol epoxide (BPDE). First, activation of BP by HRP produced 61% depurinating adducts: 7-(benzo[a]pyrene-6-yl)guanine (BP-6-N7Gua), BP-6-C8Gua, BP-6-N7Ade, and the newly identified BP-6-N3Ade. As a standard, the last adduct was synthesized along with BP-6-N1Ade by electrochemical oxidation of BP in the presence of adenine. Second, identification and quantitation of BP-DNA adducts formed by microsomal activation of BP showed 68% depurinating adducts: BP-6-N7Ade, BP-6-N7Gua, BP-6-C8Gua, BPDE-10-N7Ade, and the newly detected BPDE-10-N7Gua. The stable adducts were mostly BPDE-10-N2dG (26%), with 6% unidentified. BPDE-10-N7Ade and BPDE-10-N7Gua were the depurinating adducts identified after microsomal activation of BP-7,8-dihydrodiol or direct reaction of anti-EPDE with DNA. In both cases, the predominant adduct was BPDE-10-N2dG (90% and 96%, respectively). Third, when mouse skin was treated with BP for 4 h, 71% of the total adducts were the depurinating adducts BP-6-N7Gua, BP-6-C8Gua, BP-6-N7Ade, and small amounts of BPDE-10-N7Ade and BPDE-10-N7Gua. These newly detected depurinating diol epoxide adducts were found in larger amounts when mouse skin was treated with BP-7,8-dihydrodiol or anti-EPDE. The stable adduct BPDE-10-N2dG was predominant, especially with anti-BPDE. Comparison of the profiles of DNA adducts formed by BP, BP-7,8-dihydrodiol, and anti-EPDE with their carcinogenic potency indicates that tumor initiation correlates with the levels of depurinating adducts, but not with stable adducts. Furthermore, the levels of depurinating adducts of BP correlate with mutations in the Harvey-ras oncogene in DNA isolated from mouse skin papillomas initiated by this compound [Chakravarti et al. (1995) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 92, 10422-10426]. The depurinating adducts formed by BP in mouse skin appear to be the key adducts leading to tumor initiation.
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