It is hypothesized that 7H-dibenzo[c,g]carbazole (DBC) is metabolically activated by one-electron oxidation in accordance with its propensity to be easily oxidized to its radical cation. Iodine oxidation of DBC produces a radical cation that subsequently binds to nucleophilic groups of dG or Ade. Oxidation of DBC in the presence of dG produces three adducts: DBC-5-N7Gua, DBC-6-N7Gua, and DBC-6-C8Gua, whereas in the presence of Ade, four adducts are obtained: DBC-5-N7Ade, DBC-5-N3Ade, DBC-5-N1Ade, and DBC-6-N3Ade. Formation of these adducts demonstrates that the DBC radical cation reacts at C-5 or C-6 with the reactive nucleophiles N-7 and C-8 of dG and N-7, N-3, and N-1 of Ade. Formation of DNA adducts by DBC was studied by using horseradish peroxidase or 3-methylcholanthrene-induced rat liver microsomes for activation. Identification of the biologically-formed depurinating adducts was achieved by comparison of their retention times on HPLC in two different solvent systems and by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry. Quantitation of the adducts formed by rat liver microsomes shows that 96% are depurinating adducts, DBC-5-N7Gua (11%), DBC-6-N7Gua (32%), and DBC-5-N7Ade (53%), and 4% are unidentified stable adducts. Activation of DBC by horseradish peroxidase affords 32% stable unidentified adducts and 68% depurinating adducts: 19% DBC-5-N7Gua, 13% DBC-6-N7Gua, 27% DBC-5-N7Ade, and 9% DBC-5-N3Ade. Thus, activation of DBC by cytochrome P450 predominantly forms depurinating adducts by one-electron oxidation.
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