Role of human aldo-keto reductases in the metabolic activation of the carcinogenic air pollutant 3-nitrobenzanthrone

Jessica R Murray, Clementina A Mesaros, Volker M Arlt, Albrecht Seidel, Ian A Blair, Trevor M Penning

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6 Citations (Scopus)
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3-Nitrobenzanthrone (3-NBA) is a potent mutagen and suspected human carcinogen detected in diesel exhaust particulate and ambient air pollution. It requires metabolic activation via nitroreduction to promote DNA adduct formation and tumorigenesis. NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) has been previously implicated as the major nitroreductase responsible for 3-NBA activation, but it has recently been reported that human aldo-keto reductase 1C3 (AKR1C3) displays nitroreductase activity toward the chemotherapeutic agent PR-104A. We sought to determine whether AKR1C isoforms could display nitroreductase activity toward other nitrated compounds and bioactivate 3-NBA. Using discontinuous enzymatic assays monitored by UV-HPLC, we determined that AKR1C1-1C3 catalyze three successive two-electron nitroreductions toward 3-NBA to form the reduced product 3-aminobenzanthrone (3-ABA). Evidence of the nitroso- and hydroxylamino- intermediates were obtained by UPLC-HRMS. Km, kcat, and kcat/ Km values were determined for recombinant AKR1C and NQO1 and compared. We found that AKR1C1, AKR1C3, and NQO1 have very similar apparent catalytic efficiencies (8 vs 7 min-1 mM-1) despite the higher kcat of NQO1 (0.058 vs 0.012 min-1). AKR1C1-1C3 possess a Km much lower than that of NQO1, which suggests that they may be more important than NQO1 at the low concentrations of 3-NBA to which humans are exposed. Given that inhalation represents the primary source of 3-NBA exposure, we chose to evaluate the relative importance of AKR1C1-1C3 and NQO1 in human lung epithelial cell lines. Our data suggest that the combined activities of AKR1C1-1C3 and NQO1 contribute equally to the reduction of 3-NBA in A549 and HBEC3-KT cell lines and together represent approximately 50% of the intracellular nitroreductase activity toward 3-NBA. These findings have significant implications for the metabolism of nitrated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and suggest that the hitherto unrecognized nitroreductase activity of AKR1C enzymes should be further investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1277-1288
Number of pages12
JournalChemical Research in Toxicology
Issue number11
Early online date8 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2018


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