Mechanisms of transcription inhibition by 8-amino-adenosine

Jennifer Frey, The University of Texas Grad. Sch. of Biomed. Sci. at Houston


Nucleoside analogs are a class of chemotherapeutic agents with tremendous utility in treating viral infections and cancers. Traditional nucleoside analogs are DNA-directed. However, there is a new group of nucleoside analogs that induce cell death by a direct effect on RNA synthesis. The adenosine analog, 8-chloroadenosine, is incorporated into RNA and is currently in clinical trials. Another congener, 8-amino-adenosine has demonstrated toxicity in multiple myeloma cell lines. Like other nucleoside analogs, 8-amino-adenosine must be metabolized to its triphosphate to elicit a cytotoxic effect. Furthermore, 8-amino-adenosine causes a decline of the intracellular ATP pool and inhibits mRNA poly(A) adenylation. ^ Because of the previously known adenosine analog mechanism as well as the scope of the RNA directed nucleoside analog field, I hypothesized there are multiple mechanisms of transcription inhibition mediating 8-amino-adenosine-induced cell death. Prior to investigating these mechanisms, cell death by 8-amino-adenosine was characterized. 8-Amino-adenosine activates PARP cleavage and induces the caspase cascade. 8-Amino-adenosine increases Annexin V binding and the mitochondrial membrane permeability in wild-type MEF cells. In BAX/BAK deficient MEF cells, 8-amino-adenosine decreases the mitochondrial membrane permeability and induces autophagy. ^ Once cell death was characterized, the mechanisms of 8-amino-adenosine transcription inhibition were assessed. It was established that 8-aminoadenosine treatment causes 8-amino-ATP accumulation and decreases the intracellular ATP concentration, resulting in RNA synthesis inhibition. Several other mechanisms are identified. First, a relationship between ATP decline by 8-amino-adenosine or other known ATP synthesis inhibitors and RNA synthesis is established indicating that effects on cellular bioenergy, regardless of the mechanism of ATP decline, can decrease RNA synthesis. Second, 8-aminoadenosine treatment decreases the phosphorylation of serine residues on the RNA polymerase II C-terminal domain which regulates transcription initiation and elongation. Third, evidence is provided to demonstrate 8-amino-ATP is a substrate for RNA synthesis. Fourth, 8-amino-ATP is incorporated at the 3'-terminal position leading to chain termination. Finally, in vitro transcription assays show that 8-amino-ATP may compete with ATP to decrease de novo mRNA synthesis. Overall, this work demonstrates 8-amino-adenosine is a cytotoxic nucleoside analog that functions to inhibit RNA transcription through multiple mechanisms. ^

Subject Area

Biology, Molecular|Health Sciences, Pharmacology|Health Sciences, Oncology

Recommended Citation

Frey, Jennifer, "Mechanisms of transcription inhibition by 8-amino-adenosine" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3367965.