A new cytotoxic, DNA interstrand crosslinking agent, 5-(aziridin-1-yl)-4-hydroxylamino-2-nitrobenzamide, is formed from 5-(aziridin-1-yl)-2,4-dinitrobenzamide (CB 1954) by a nitroreductase enzyme in Walker carcinoma cells

Biochem Pharmacol. 1988 Dec 15;37(24):4661-9. doi: 10.1016/0006-2952(88)90335-8.


Walker tumour cells in vivo or in vitro are exceptionally sensitive to the monofunctional alkylating agent 5-(aziridin-1-yl)-2,4-dinitrobenzamide (CB 1954) (Cobb LM et al., Biochem Pharmacol 18: 1519-1527, 1969). CB 1954 forms DNA interstrand crosslinks in a time-dependent manner in Walker tumour cells but not in non-toxically affected Chinese hamster V79 cells [(Roberts JJ et al., Biochem Biophys Res Commun 140: 1073-1078, 1986)]. However, co-culturing Chinese hamster V79 cells with Walker cells in the presence of CB 1954 renders the hamster cells sensitive to CB 1954 and leads to the formation of interstrand crosslinks in their DNA, findings indicative of the formation by Walker cells of a diffusible toxic metabolite of CB 1954. A flavoprotein, of molecular weight 33.5 kDa as estimated by SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, has been isolated from Walker cells and identified as a form of NAD(P)H dehydrogenase (quinone) (DT diaphorase, EC This enzyme, in the presence of NADH or NADPH, catalyses the aerobic reduction of CB 1954 to 5-(aziridin-1-yl)-4-hydroxylamino-2-nitrobenzamide. This new compound can form interstrand crosslinks in the DNA of Chinese hamster V79 cells to which it is also highly toxic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / metabolism*
  • Aziridines / metabolism*
  • Aziridines / toxicity
  • Azirines / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma 256, Walker / enzymology
  • Carcinoma 256, Walker / metabolism*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cricetinae
  • Cross-Linking Reagents*
  • DNA Damage*
  • NAD / metabolism
  • Nitroreductases / metabolism*
  • Oxidoreductases / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / drug effects


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Aziridines
  • Azirines
  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • NAD
  • tretazicar
  • Oxidoreductases
  • Nitroreductases