Evidence for a common mechanism of action for antitumor and antibacterial agents that inhibit type II DNA topoisomerases.
Numerous antitumor and antibacterial agents inhibit type II DNA topoisomerases, yielding, in each case, a complex of enzyme covalently bound to cleaved DNA. We are investigating the mechanism of inhibitor action by using the type II DNA topoisomerase of bacteriophage T4 as a model. The T4 topoisomerase is the target of antitumor agent 4'-(9-acridinylamino)-methanesulfon-m-anisidide (m-AMSA) in T4-infected Escherichia coli. Two m-AMSA-resistant phage strains were previously isolated, one with a point mutation in topoisomerase subunit gene 39 and the other with a point mutation in topoisomerase subunit gene 52. We report here that the wild-type T4 topoisomerase is inhibited by six additional antitumor agents that also inhibit the mammalian type II topoisomerase: ellipticine, 9-OH-ellipticine, 2-me-9-OH-ellipticinium acetate, mitoxantrone diacetate, teniposide, and etoposide. Further, one or both of the m-AMSA-resistance mutations alters the enzyme sensitivity to each of these agents, conferring either cross-resistance or enhanced sensitivity. Finally, the gene 39 mutation confers on T4 topoisomerase a DNA gyrase-like sensitivity to the gyrase inhibitor oxolinic acid, thus establishing a direct link between the mechanism of action of the anti-bacterial quinolones and that of the antitumor agents. These results strongly suggest that diverse inhibitors of type II topoisomerases share a common binding site and a common mechanism of action, both of which are apparently conserved in the evolution of the type II DNA topoisomerases. Alterations in DNA cleavage site specificity caused by either the inhibitors or the m-AMSA-resistance mutations favor the proposal that the inhibitor binding site is composed of both protein and DNA.
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