Effects of nickel(II) on nuclear protein binding to DNA in intact mammalian cells.
An intracellular effect of nickel(II) which may be involved in its carcinogenic action is the alteration of normal DNA-protein binding. This effect of ionic nickel was studied in Chinese hamster ovary cells using several chromatin isolation methods in combination with SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. DNA from cells incubated with (35S)-methionine or (35S)-cysteine to radiolabel protein was prepared by three methods: (solation of nuclei or nucleoids followed by chloroform-isoamyl alcohol (24:1 v/v) extraction and in some cases an additional extraction in the absence or presence of 2M NaCl, 40 mM EDTA or SDS; by isopycnic centrifugation through Cs2SO4 gradients containing 0.8% sarkosyl, 2.2 MCs2SO4, 1 mM NaCl and 10 mM EDTA; or by chromatin disaggregation and denaturation using 9 M urea, 2% 2-mercaptoethanol, 4% Nonidet P-40 +/- 2 M NaCl. DNA from nickel-treated cells consistently had more (35S)-methionine radioactivity associated with it than did DNA from untreated cells. This radioactivity was resistant to ribonuclease but sensitive to protease. Differential extraction using denaturing agents and high ionic strength followed by SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis revealed that most of the tightly bound proteins were nonhistone chromosomal proteins, and possibly histone 1. The enhancement of DNA-protein binding from nickel-treated cells was disrupted by SDS, suggesting that nickel ions do not function as classical bifunctional crosslinking agents. Since regulation of DNA replication and gene expression is dependent upon DNA-protein interactions, the effect of nickel in altering the extent of DNA-protein binding may interfere with this regulation and may contribute to the carcinogenic activity of nickel compounds.
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