Mitomycins and Porfiromycin: Chemical Mechanism of Activation and Cross-linking of DNA

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Science  03 Jul 1964:
Vol. 145, Issue 3627, pp. 55-58
DOI: 10.1126/science.145.3627.55


Mitomycins and porfiromycin, generally nonreactive in the natural oxidized state, behave as bifunctional "alkylating" agents upon chemical or enzymatic reduction, followed by spontaneous loss of the tertiary methoxy (hydroxyl) group and formation of an aromatic indole system. Thus activated, mitomycins and porfiromycin react in vitro with purified DNA, linking its complementary strands. A high content of guanine and cytosine favors this cross-linking reaction, which is the basis of the lethal effect in vivo of these antibiotics. The activation and cross-linking reactions are discussed in terms of reactive sites on the mitomycin and DNA molecules.