Inhibition of DNA replication by tirapazamine.
Tirapazamine (TPZ) is a hypoxia-selective cytotoxin that is currently being examined in Phase II and III clinical trials in combination with radiotherapy and cisplatin-based chemotherapy. Reductases convert TPZ to a cytotoxic radical that produces DNA damage under hypoxic conditions. Because one or more of the enzymes responsible for the bioactivation of TPZ is/are thought to be at or near the nuclear matrix, we hypothesized that TPZ may have a major affect on DNA replication, a process that is known to occur predominantly at the nuclear matrix. To assess the effect of TPZ on DNA replication, we measured the incorporation of radioactive thymidine into DNA of HCT116 human colon cancer cells and HeLa cells. We show that incorporation of radioactive thymidine is dramatically inhibited in cells that are pretreated with TPZ under hypoxic conditions. TPZ-induced inhibition of DNA synthesis was much greater than that produced by more toxic doses of ionizing radiation. We used the SV40-based in vitro DNA replication assay to study the mechanism of inhibition of DNA synthesis in cells treated with TPZ. Using this assay, we show that extracts prepared from cells treated with TPZ under hypoxic conditions had only 25-50% of the DNA replication activity measured in control cells. This reduction in DNA replication activity was associated with a reduction in levels of replication protein A (RPA) in cytoplasmic extracts used for the in vitro DNA replication assay and could be overcome by addition of recombinant human RPA. Furthermore, we show by indirect immunofluorescence that TPZ leads to a localization of the p34 subunit of RPA (RPA2) to small subnuclear foci. These results show that TPZ dramatically inhibits DNA replication and that the mechanism of inhibition, at least in part, involves changes in RPA that alter its cellular localization.
Peters, KB; Wang, H; Brown, JM; Iliakis, G
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