UVA activation of N-dialkylnitrosamines releasing nitric oxide, producing strand breaks as well as oxidative damages in DNA, and inducing mutations in the Ames test

Sakae Arimoto-Kobayashi, Kayoko Sano, Masaki Machida, Keiko Kaji, Keiko Yakushi

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We investigated the photo-mutagenicity and photo-genotoxicity of N-dialkylnitrosamines and its mechanisms of UVA activation. With simultaneous irradiation of UVA, photo-mutagenicity of seven N-dialkylnitrosamines was observed in Ames bacteria (Salmonella typhimurium TA1535) in the absence of metabolic activation. Mutagenicity of pre-irradiated N-dialkylnitrosamines was also observed with S. typhimurium hisG46, TA100, TA102 and YG7108 in the absence of metabolic activation. UVA-mediated mutation with N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) and N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA) decreased by adding either the NO or OH radical scavenger. When superhelical DNA was irradiated with N-dialkylnitrosamines, nicked circular DNA appeared. Ten N-dialkylnitrosamines examined produced strand breaks in the treated DNA in the presence of UVA. The level of single-strand breaks in φX174 DNA mediated by N-nitrosomorpholine (NMOR) and UVA decreased by adding either a radical scavenger or superoxide dismutase. When calf thymus DNA was treated with N-dialkylnitrosamines (NDMA, NDEA, NMOR, N-nitrosopyrrolidine (NPYR) and N-nitrosopiperidine (NPIP)) and UVA, the ratio of 8-oxodG/dG in the DNA increased. Action spectra were obtained to determine if nitrosamine acts as a sensitizer of UVA. Both mutation frequency and NO formation were highest at the absorption maximum of nitrosamines, approximately 340. nm. The plots of NO formation and mutation frequency align with the absorption curve of NPYR, NMOR and NDMA. A significant linear correlation between the optical density of N-dialkynitrosamines at 340. nm and NO formation in each irradiated solution was revealed by ANOVA. We would like to propose the hypothesis that the N-nitroso moiety of N-dialkylnitrosamines absorbs UVA photons, UVA-photolysis of N-dialkylnitrosamines brings release of nitric oxide, and subsequent production of alkyl radical cations and active oxygen species follow as secondary events, which cause DNA strand breaks, oxidative and alkylative DNA damages and mutation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-54
Number of pages8
JournalMutation Research - Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2010



  • 8-Oxo-guanine
  • DNA strand break
  • Nitric oxide
  • Nitrosamine
  • Photomutagenesis
  • Phototoxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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