Changes in Apoptotic Gene Expression Induced by DNA Cross-Linkers

Jordanne B. Dunn, Colby College


The Millard Research Laboratory is interested in the cytotoxic mechanisms of the bifunctional alkylators diepoxybutane (DEB), epichlorohydrin (ECH), and (1-chloroethenyl) oxirane (COX). Studies performed in the laboratory examine the dual nature of these DNA cross-linking compounds that can act as carcinogens or anti-cancer agents. The mechanisms through which these compounds induce cell death are explored in this study. Cells either undergo cell death due to necrosis or apoptosis. HL-60 cells were treated with varying concentrations of DEB, ECH, or COX. A caspase 3/7 assay was used to test for induction of apoptosis in the treated cells at varying incubation times. It was concluded that DEB induces apoptosis in HL-60 cells treated with 100 μM for 24 hours. Quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) was then used to explore the changes in gene expression of various genes involved in apoptosis signaling. The results were inconclusive as to specific genes involved in DEB induced apoptosis, but the data does suggest that apoptosis is induced by a mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis signaling pathway.