Cross-linkage of nucleophosmin in tumor cells by nitrogen mustard

Cancer Res. 1989 Jun 15;49(12):3271-5.


Mouse leukemia (P388) cells were incubated in cell culture medium containing nitrogen mustard [2-chloro-N-(2-chloroethyl)-N-methylethanamine] for 4 h. The nucleophosmin immunoband with a molecular weight of 37,000 (p37; other molecular weights are similarly designated) was observed in both control and nitrogen mustard-treated cells. Three additional immunobands with molecular weights of 80,000 (p80), 120,000 (p120), and 230,000 (p230) were identified in the drug-treated cells. The same results were observed with melphalan, but were not detected when mitomycin C, cis-platinum, Adriamycin, or actinomycin D were used. Treatments with DNase and RNase did not alter the molecular weights of these immunobands. These results indicate that the cross-linked products of nucleophosmin were not linked to DNA or RNA. The pI of p80, p120, and p230 is 5.1, which is the same as that of nucleophosmin (p37). The iodinated tryptic peptide map of p80 is identical to that of nucleophosmin. This result indicates that p80 is a dimer cross-linked by nitrogen mustard. The p80 and p120 immunobands were observed in Novikoff hepatoma and in hypertrophic rat liver, but were not detected in normal liver under the same conditions. These results indicate that tumor or proliferating cells have hexameric nucleophosmins which can be cross-linked by nitrogen mustards.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cross-Linking Reagents*
  • Hypertrophy
  • Leukemia P388 / metabolism*
  • Leukemia, Experimental / metabolism*
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / pathology*
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mechlorethamine / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Molecular Weight
  • Nuclear Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*
  • Nucleophosmin
  • Peptide Mapping
  • Phosphoproteins / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Thioacetamide / toxicity


  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Thioacetamide
  • Nucleophosmin
  • Mechlorethamine