Protein-associated intercalator-induced DNA scission is enhanced by estrogen stimulation in human breast cancer cells

L. A. Zwelling, D. Kerrigan, M. E. Lippman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Estrogen-responsive human breast cancer cells (MCF-7) displayed a higher frequency of intercalator-induced protein-associated DNA scission after treatment with 17β-estradiol (E2) than did cells that had not received estrogen treatment. This effect was dependent on estrogen concentration (maximum enhancement at ~1 nM E2) and time (maximum effect seen ~24 hr after E2 addition). Human breast cancer cells lacking estrogen receptors did not display the enhanced response. Antiestrogens produced a slight decrease in intercalator-induced DNA scission, whereas insulin produced an enhanced effect. The DNA breaks produced by the intercalators 5-iminodaunorubicin and 4'-(9-acridinylamino)methanesulfon-m-anisidide (m-AMSA) in these cells were undetectable without enzymatic deproteinization of cell lysates prior to quantification by alkaline elution. Intercalator-induced DNA-protein crosslinking also was enhanced in E2-treated MCF-7 cells. Studies with m-[14C]AMSA revealed no estrogen-associated increases in drug uptake. The data suggest that E2 treatment, either by specifically and directly increasing active transcription in chromatin or through secondary effects on DNA that accompany alterations in cell growth or cell cycle distribution, alters the susceptibility of DNA to intercalator-induced protein-associated DNA scission. If this enhanced protein-associated scission is selectively localized to transcriptionally active chromatin, the adsorption of the DNA-bound proteins to membrane filters (DNA-protein crosslinking) may allow identification and isolation of estrogen-regulated gene sequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6182-6186
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number20 I
StatePublished - 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Protein-associated intercalator-induced DNA scission is enhanced by estrogen stimulation in human breast cancer cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this