Effects of Polycyclic Aromatic Carcinogens on Viral Replication: Similarity to Actinomycin D

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Science  30 Oct 1964:
Vol. 146, Issue 3644, pp. 650-651
DOI: 10.1126/science.146.3644.650


When incorporated into a nutrient overlay, the carcinogenic hydrocarbons benzo[a]pyrene and 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene inhibit plaque formation by herpes virus and vaccinia virus, DNA viruses, but not by Sindbis virus, an RNA virus. These carcinogens also decrease herpes and vaccinia virus yields in liquid medium, without affecting Sindbis virus yields. Four structurally related, but noncarcinogenic polycyclic hydrocarbons, namely benzo[e]pyrene, pyrene, benz[a]anthracene and anthracene, have no inhibitory effect on DNA virus replication. Taken together with the known inhibition of interferon production, these effects on virus growth resemble the action of actinomycin D and hence provide evidence for a selective interaction of these carcinogens with DNA.