• 3-Nitrobenzanthrone and 3-aminobenzanthrone induce DNA damage and cell signalling in Hepa1c1c7 cells.

      Landvik, N.E.; Arlt, V.M.; Nagy, E.; Solhaug, A.; Tekpli, X.; Schmeiser, H.H.; Refsnes, M.; Phillips, D.H.; Lagadic-Gossmann, D.; Holme, J.A. (2010-02-03)
      3-Nitrobenzanthrone (3-NBA) is a mutagenic and carcinogenic environmental pollutant found in diesel exhaust and urban air pollution. In the present work we have characterised the effects of 3-NBA and its metabolite 3-aminobenzanthrone (3-ABA) on cell death and cytokine release in mouse hepatoma Hepa1c1c7 cells. These effects were related to induced DNA damage and changes in cell signalling pathways. 3-NBA resulted in cell death and caused most DNA damage as judged by the amount of DNA adducts ((32)P-postlabelling assay), single strand (ss)DNA breaks and oxidative DNA lesions (comet assay) detected. An increased phosphorylation of H2AX, chk1, chk2 and partly ATM was observed using flow cytometry and/or Western blotting. Both compounds increased phosphorylation of p53 and MAPKs (ERK, p38 and JNK). However, only 3-NBA caused an accumulation of p53 in the nucleus and a translocation of Bax to the mitochondria. The p53 inhibitor pifithrin-alpha inhibited 3-NBA-induced apoptosis, indicating that cell death was a result of the triggering of DNA signalling pathways. The highest phosphorylation of Akt and degradation of IkappaB-alpha (suggesting activation of NF-kappaB) were also seen after treatment with 3-NBA. In contrast 3-ABA increased IL-6 release, but caused little or no toxicity. Cytokine release was inhibited by PD98059 and curcumin, suggesting that ERK and NF-kappaB play a role in this process. In conclusion, 3-NBA seems to have a higher potency to induce DNA damage compatible with its cytotoxic effects, while 3-ABA seems to have a greater effect on the immune system.
    • AHR- and DNA-damage-mediated gene expression responses induced by benzo(a)pyrene in human cell lines.

      Hockley, Sarah L.; Arlt, Volker M.; Brewer, Daniel; Te Poele, Robert; Workman, Paul; Giddings, Ian; Phillips, David H. (2007-12)
      Carcinogens induce complex transcriptional responses in cells that may hold key mechanistic information. Benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) modulation of transcription may occur through the activation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) or through responses to DNA damage. To characterize further the expression profiles induced by BaP in HepG2 and MCF-7 cells obtained in our previous study, they were compared to those induced by 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), which activates AHR but does not bind to DNA, and anti-benzo(a)pyrene- trans-7,8-dihydrodiol-9,10-epoxide (BPDE), which binds directly to DNA but does not activate AHR. A total of 22 genes had altered expression in MCF-7 cells after both BaP and TCDD exposure, and a total of 29 genes had altered expression in HepG2 cells. In both cell lines, xenobiotic metabolism was upregulated through induction of NQO1, MGST1, and CYP1B1. A total of 78 expression changes were induced by both BaP and BPDE in MCF-7 cells, and a total of 29 expression changes were induced by both BaP and BPDE in HepG2 cells. These genes were predominantly involved in cell cycle regulation, apoptosis, and DNA repair. BaP and BPDE caused the repression of histone genes in both cell lines, suggesting that regulation of these genes is an important component of the DNA damage response. Interestingly, overlap of the BPDE and TCDD gene expression profiles was also observed. Furthermore, some genes were modulated by BaP but not by TCDD or BPDE, including induction of CRY1 and MAK, which may represent novel signaling pathways that are independent of both AHR activation and DNA damage. Promoter analysis identified candidate genes for direct transcriptional regulation by either AHR or p53. These analyses have further dissected and characterized the complex cellular response to BaP.
    • The aryl hydrocarbon receptor-dependent deregulation of cell cycle control induced by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in rat liver epithelial cells.

      Andrysik, Zdenek; Vondracek, Jan; Machala, Miroslav; Krcmar, Pavel; Svihalkova-Sindlerova, Lenka; Kranz, Anne; Weiss, Carsten; Faust, Dagmar; Kozubík, Alois; Dietrich, Cornelia (2007-02-03)
      Disruption of cell proliferation control by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) may contribute to their carcinogenicity. We investigated role of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) in disruption of contact inhibition in rat liver epithelial WB-F344 'stem-like' cells, induced by the weakly mutagenic benz[a]anthracene (BaA), benzo[b]fluoranthene (BbF) and by the strongly mutagenic benzo[a]pyrene (BaP). There were significant differences between the effects of BaA and BbF, and those of the strongly genotoxic BaP. Both BaA and BbF increased percentage of cells entering S-phase and cell numbers, associated with an increased expression of Cyclin A and Cyclin A/cdk2 complex activity. Their effects were significantly reduced in cells expressing a dominant-negative AhR mutant (dnAhR). Roscovitine, a chemical inhibitor of cdk2, abolished the induction of cell proliferation by BbF. However, neither BaA nor BbF modulated expression of the principal cdk inhibitor involved in maintenance of contact inhibition, p27(Kip1), or pRb phosphorylation. The strongly mutagenic BaP induced apoptosis, a decrease in total cell numbers and significantly higher percentage of cells entering S-phase than either BaA or BbF. Given that BaP induced high levels of Cyclin A/cdk2 activity, downregulation of p27(Kip1) and hyperphosphorylation of pRb, the accumulation of cells in S-phase was probably due to cell proliferation, although S-phase arrest due to blocked replication forks can not be excluded. Both types of effects of BaP were significantly attenuated in dnAhR cells. Transfection of WB-F344 cells with siRNA targeted against AhR decreased induction of Cyclin A induced by BbF or BaP, further supporting the role of AhR in proliferative effects of PAHs. This suggest that activation of AhR plays a significant role both in disruption of contact inhibition by weakly mutagenic PAHs and in genotoxic effects of BaP possibly leading to enhanced cell proliferation. Thus, PAHs may increase proliferative rate and the likelihood of fixation of mutations.
    • Influence of aryl hydrocarbon- (Ah) receptor and genotoxins on DNA repair gene expression and cell survival of mouse hepatoma cells.

      Schreck, Ilona; Chudziak, Doreen; Schneider, Sandra; Seidel, Albrecht; Platt, Karl L.; Oesch, Franz; Weiss, Carsten (2009-05-17)
      The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) mediates toxicity of a variety of environmental pollutants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and dioxins. However, the underlying mechanisms and genetic programmes regulated by AhR to cause adverse effects but also to counteract poisoning are still poorly understood. Here we analysed the effects of two AhR ligands, benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P), a DNA damaging tumour initiator and promotor and 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), a pure tumour promoter, on cell survival and on nucleotide excision repair (NER) gene expression. NER deals with so called "bulky" DNA adducts including those generated by enzymatically activated B[a]P. Therefore, the hypothesis that AhR may enhance NER gene expression to trigger DNA repair in the presence of genotoxic AhR ligands was tested. Furthermore, we investigated a potential cytoprotective effect of AhR activation by the non-genotoxic ligand TCDD against cell death induced by various genotoxins. Finally, the actions of genotoxins themselves on NER gene expression were studied. As a cell culture model we used mouse hepatoma cells (Hepa-c7) proficient for AhR and its partner protein ARNT as well as subclones deficient in AhR (Hepa-c12) or ARNT (Hepa-c4) to study involvement of AhR and ARNT in response to B[a]P and TCDD. Indeed, the mRNA levels of the two NER genes XP-C and DNA polymerase kappa were increased by B[a]P and TCDD, however, this was not accompanied by an increase in the amount of the respective proteins. Pretreatment of cells with TCDD did not reduce cytotoxicity induced by various genotoxins. Thus, in Hepa-c7 cells AhR has no major effects on the expression of these crucial NER proteins and does not prevent genotoxin-provoked cell death. As expected, the genotoxins B[a]P and cis-platin led to p53 accumulation and induction of its target p21. Interestingly, however, NER gene expression was not enhanced but rather decreased. As two NER genes, XP-C and DNA damage binding protein ddb2, are up-regulated by p53 and ultraviolet radiation in human cells these findings suggest cell type, species or lesion specific actions of p53 on DNA repair gene expression. Importantly, in cells with damaged DNA up-regulation of p53 may not suffice to enhance DNA repair gene expression.
    • Phosphorylation of xenobiotic-metabolizing cytochromes P450.

      Oesch-Bartlomowicz, B.; Oesch, F. (2008-11)
      The regulation of cytochromes P450 (CYPs) by induction mediated by xenobiotics is well known. Our team has discovered an additional important regulation of xenobiotic-metabolizing CYPs by phosphorylation. Individual CYPs are phosphorylated by different protein kinases, leading to CYP isoenzyme-selective changes in the metabolism of individual substrates and consequent profound changes in the control of mutagenic and cytotoxic metabolites. Some CYPs are phosphorylated by protein kinase C and some by the cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) dependent protein kinase A. We found that cAMP not only leads to drastic changes in the activity of individual CYPs, but also drastic changes in the nuclear localization of the CYP-related transcription factor Ah receptor (AHR). The consequences are very different from those of AHR nuclear translocation mediated by its classic ligands (such as dioxin and many polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and may represent the long-sought physiological function of the AHR. The disturbance of this physiological function of AHR by extremely persistent high-affinity xenobiotic ligands such as dioxin may represent the most important contributing factor for their potent toxicity.
    • Role of cAMP in mediating AHR signaling.

      Oesch-Bartlomowicz, Barbara; Oesch, Franz (2009-02-15)
      Regulation of the nuclear import of many transcription factors represents a step in gene regulation which is crucial for a number of cellular processes. The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR), a basic helix-loop-helix protein of the PAS (PER-ARNT-SIM) family of transcriptional regulators is a cytosol-associated and ligand-activated receptor. The environmental toxin dioxin binds with high affinity to AHR rendering it nuclear and leading to the activation of AHR sensitive genes. However, the fact, that the AHR mediates a large variety of physiological events without the involvement of any known exogenous ligand, including liver and vascular system development, maturation of the immune system, regulation of genes involved in cellular growth, cell differentiation and circadian rhythm, speaks for an important role of AHR in cell biology independent of the presence of an exogenous ligand. Different approaches were applied to study mechanism(s) which render AHR nuclear and design its function in absence of exogenous ligands. We found that AHR is sensitive to cAMP signaling mediated by cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) which fundamentally differs from AHR signaling mediated by the exogenous ligand dioxin. It has been shown that PKA mediated signaling can be confined by compartmentalization of signaling components in microdomains conferring specificity to signaling by the ubiquitous second messenger cAMP. Moreover, A-kinase-anchoring proteins (AKAPs) and newly discovered cAMP receptors, Epac (exchange protein directly activated by cAMP), may give us a further chance to enter into new dimensions of cAMP signal transmissions that potentially may bring us closer to AHR physiology.
    • TCDD deregulates contact inhibition in rat liver oval cells via Ah receptor, JunD and cyclin A.

      Weiss, C.; Faust, D.; Schreck, I.; Ruff, A.; Farwerck, T.; Melenberg, A.; Schneider, S.; Oesch-Bartlomowicz, B.; Zatloukalova, J.; Vondracek, J.; et al. (2008-04-03)
      The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a transcription factor involved in physiological processes, but also mediates most, if not all, toxic responses to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD). Activation of the AhR by TCDD leads to its dimerization with aryl hydrocarbon nuclear translocator (ARNT) and transcriptional activation of several phase I and II metabolizing enzymes. However, this classical signalling pathway so far failed to explain the pleiotropic hazardous effects of TCDD, such as developmental toxicity and tumour promotion. Thus, there is an urgent need to define genetic programmes orchestrated by AhR to unravel its role in physiology and toxicology. Here we show that TCDD treatment of rat liver oval cells leads to induction of the transcription factor JunD, resulting in transcriptional upregulation of the proto-oncogene cyclin A which finally triggers a release from contact inhibition. Ectopic expression of cyclin A in confluent cultures overcomes G(1) arrest, indicating that increased cyclin A levels are indeed sufficient to bypass contact inhibition. Functional interference with AhR-, but not with ARNT, abolished TCDD-induced increase in JunD and cyclin A and prevented loss of contact inhibition. In summary, we have discovered a novel AhR-dependent and probably ARNT-independent signalling pathway involving JunD and cyclin A, which mediates TCDD-induced deregulation of cell cycle control.
    • A technical mixture of 2,2',4,4'-tetrabromo diphenyl ether (BDE47) and brominated furans triggers aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) mediated gene expression and toxicity.

      Wahl, M.; Lahni, B.; Guenther, R.; Kuch, B.; Yang, L.; Straehle, U.; Strack, S.; Weiss, C. (2008-09)
      Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) are found as ubiquitous contaminants in the environment, e.g., in sediments and biota as well as in human blood samples and mother's milk. PBDEs are neuro- and developmental toxins, disturb the endocrine system and some are even carcinogenic. Structural similarities of PBDEs with dioxin-like compounds, e.g., 2,3,7,8-tetrachloro-dibenzodioxin (TCDD), have raised concern about a possible "dioxin-like" action of PBDEs. TCDD exerts its toxicity via binding to and activation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). AhR ligands are in contrast to PBDEs usually coplanar compounds. Thus, PBDEs are not likely to be strong AhR agonists. The aim of this study was to analyze the effects of the most abundant PBDE congener, 2,2',4,4'-tetrabromo diphenyl ether (BDE47), on AhR activity and signaling. Initially, we measured cytochrome P450 1A1 (Cyp1A1) induction as a readout for AhR activation by BDE47. Low grade purified BDE47 increased CYP1A1 levels in transformed and primary rat hepatocytes and human hepatoma cells. Chemical analysis of the BDE47 sample identified trace contaminations with brominated furans such as 2,3,7,8-tetrabromo dibenzodioxin (TBDF), which most likely were responsible for the observed activation of AhR. Subsequently, the BDE47 mixture was studied for its effect on AhR mediated toxicity and global gene expression. Indeed, in rat hepatoma cells and in zebrafish embryos the BDE47 mixture provoked changes in gene expression and toxicity similar to known AhR agonists. In addition to the dioxin-like actions, the BDE47 sample enhanced Cyp2B and Cyp3A expression suggesting that commercial PBDE mixtures, which also often contain brominated furans, may disturb cellular homeostasis at multiple levels.