Predicting the mutagenicity of tobacco-related N-nitrosamines in humans using 11 strains of Salmonella typhimurium YG7108, each coexpressing a form of human cytochrome P450 along with NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase

Environ Mol Mutagen. 2001;38(4):339-46. doi: 10.1002/em.10036.


Tobacco, including snuff and chewing tobacco, contains N-nitrosamines such as 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK), N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA), N-nitrosopyrrolidine (NPYR), N-nitrosopiperidine (NPIP), N-nitrosomorpholine (NMOR), N-nitrosonornicotine (NNN), N-nitrosoanabasine (NABS), and N-nitrosoanatabine (NATB). The role of human cytochrome P450 (CYP) in the metabolic activation of these tobacco-related N-nitrosamines was examined by a Salmonella mutation test using genetically engineered Salmonella typhimurium (S. typhimurium) YG7108 cells each expressing a form of human CYP (CYP1A1, CYP1A2, CYP1B1, CYP2A6, CYP2C8, CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP2D6, CYP2E1, CYP3A4, or CYP3A5) together with human NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase. Mutagen production from NNK was catalyzed by CYP in the following order: CYP1A2, CYP1A1, CYP1B1, CYP2A6, CYP2C19, CYP3A4. The metabolic activation of one of the N-alkylnitrosamines, NDEA, was mediated by CYP2A6, followed by CYP2E1. Cyclic N-nitrosamines such as NPYR, NPIP, and NMOR were also primarily activated by CYP2A6, and to a lesser extent by CYP2E1. NNN, a pyridine derivative of NPYR, was activated by CYP1A1 at an efficiency similar to that of CYP2A6. NABS, a pyridine derivative of NPIP, was mainly activated by CYP3A4, followed by CYP1A1 and CYP2A6. Thus, the addition of a pyridine ring to NPYR or NPIP altered the forms of CYP primarily responsible for mutagenic activation. NATB was metabolically activated solely by CYP2A6, whereas the genotoxicity of NATB was much lower than that of NNN or NPYR. Based on these data, we conclude that CYP2A6 was responsible for the mutagenic activation of essentially all tobacco-related N-nitrosamines tested in the present study.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / drug effects
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / genetics*
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mutagenicity Tests / methods*
  • Mutation
  • NADPH-Ferrihemoprotein Reductase / drug effects
  • NADPH-Ferrihemoprotein Reductase / genetics*
  • NADPH-Ferrihemoprotein Reductase / metabolism
  • Nitrosamines / toxicity*
  • Recombinant Proteins / drug effects
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Salmonella typhimurium / drug effects
  • Salmonella typhimurium / genetics*
  • Tobacco


  • Nitrosamines
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • NADPH-Ferrihemoprotein Reductase