A Selective Effect of Methylglyoxal-bis(guanylhydrazone) on the Synthesis of Mitochondrial DNA of Cultured L1210 Leukemia Cells

B. Feuerstein, Carl W. Porter, C. Dave

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Methylglyoxal-bis(guanylhydrazone) (MGBG) is a polycationic drug which is useful in the chemotherapy of lymphoid and myeloid proliferative disorders. The drug has recently been shown to produce selective ultrastructural damage to the mitochondria of proliferating cell populations. It is important to understand the molecular basis for this action, since it may be related to the known ability of MGBG to block polyamine biosynthesis. Accordingly, the effect of MGBG treatment on the incorporation of [3H]thymidine into both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA has been examined. Exponentially growing L1210 leukemia cells were prelabeled with [14C]thymidine, treated with MGBG for 1.5 to 16 hr, and then pulse labeled with [3H]-thymidine. Incorporation of [3H]thymidine into mitochondrial DNA was selectively inhibited at 5 hr with concentrations of 1 to 10 /um MGBG. Nuclear DNA, however, was not similarly affected until 8 to 11 hr of drug treatment. Dye-CsCI gradients of mitochondrial DNA indicated that the inhibition of synthesis occurred in replicative forms of circular DNA. Uptake studies excluded the possibility of drug interference with cellular uptake of thymidine. Ultrastructural studies revealed a very close correlation between the dose-response curve for mitochondrial damage and that for MGBG inhibition of mitochondrial DNA synthesis. This correlation suggests a direct cause-and-effect relationship between inhibition of mitochondrial DNA synthesis and ultrastructural damage, but the possibility of both phenomena being related to another action by the drug, such as inhibition of polyamine biosynthesis, or a drug effect on mitochondrial function, must also be considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4130-4137
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 1979
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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