Author (Your Name)

Megan L. Watts, Colby College

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Biology Dept.


Julie T. Millard

Second Advisor

Paul G. Greenwood

Third Advisor

Lynn G. Hannum


Work conducted in the Millard Biochemistry Research Laboratory examines the dual nature of molecules as carcinogens and anti-tumor agents through the molecular mechanisms of duplex DNA damage by bifunctional alkylating agents. Diepoxybutane (DEB) and epichlorohydrin (ECH) are polar molecules that form covalent DNA interstrand lesions by cross-linking the N7 position of deoxyguanosine residues. A recent experiment indicated that ECH preferentially targets nuclear DNA over mitochondrial DNA, whereas DEB shows similar rates of lesion formation for both loci. It was concluded that preferential targeting of nuclear DNA results from relatively poor uptake of ECH across the mitochondrial membrane. The objective of my honors research was to determine if the cytotoxicities of DEB and ECH vary according to the presence of the nuclear envelope in 6C2 chicken erythro-progenitor cells. The cytotoxicity of DEB and ECH was compared between cells randomly distributed throughout the cell cycle (Go/G, and S » G2/M) and cells enriched in G2/M stages. Results indicated that ECH is more cytotoxic than DEB in both unsynchronized control 6C2 cells and synchronized 6C2 cells enriched in G2/M stages of the cell cycle. Treatment with either bifunctional alkylating agent induced greater cytotoxicity in 6C2 cells enriched in G2/M stages than in unsynchronized control 6C2 cells, suggesting that the presence of the nuclear envelope-or any plasma membrane-may inhibit the reactivity of DEB and ECH.


Cytotoxicity, Cell Cycle, DNA, Mitochondrial DNA

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