Some photochemical and photobiological properties of 4,6,8,9-tetramethyl-2H-furo[2,3-h]quinolin-2-one (HFQ) were studied in comparison with its isomer 1,4,6,8-tetramethyl-2H-furo[2,3-h]quinolin-2-one (FQ) and 8-methoxypsoralen (8-MOP). The HFQ photobinds to DNA forming furan-side monoadducts (MAHFQ) that have molecular structure very similar to those of FQ (MAFQ). Unlike MA8-MOP and MAFQ, MAHFQ no longer photoreact. The HFQ, like FQ, produces moderate amounts of singlet oxygen but no superoxide anions. The HFQ and FQ induce numbers of DNA–protein cross-links (DPC), much more plentiful than those of 8-MOP (about two and seven times, respectively) but no interstrand cross-links. The mechanism of DPC formation was studied in vivo in mammalian cells by alkaline elution and in vitro using a new test mixing histones and DNA from calf thymus. The latter is a very useful technique for the double irradiation protocol. The DNA (or histones) are separately exposed to a first UVA dose in the presence of the sensitizer; then, after its unbound molecules have been removed, histones (or DNA) are added to assemble the chromatin-like complex that is irradiated again. According to in vitro and in vivo methods, DPC appear to be formed by FQ and 8-MOP by a biphotonic process that starts with monoadduct induction in DNA, followed by their conversion into DPC. In the resulting lesions, the sensitizer molecule forms a covalent bridge between the two macromolecules (DPC at length greater than zero). Instead, HFQ induces DPC by a monophotonic process; thus, HFQ is probably not a physical part of the bridge between DNA and proteins, which may be linked together directly, like DPC at zero length induced by UVC.
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Vol. 71 • No. 3