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Nuclear localization and induction of rat hepatic drug metabolizing enzymes Gontovnick, Larry Stuart


The nucleus may be the critical site for the activation of chemical carcinogens, and subsequently the initiation of neoplasia. However, isolated nuclei may be contaminated with endoplasmic reticulum, the major site of the drug metabolizing enzymes. One of the objectives of the present study was to determine whether the enzymes in isolated rat hepatic nuclei were of nuclear origin and, if so, to compare these enzymes with those in the microsomal fraction. The selective manipulation of nuclear enzymes would be a useful tool in determining their role in cellular toxicity. Recentrifugation experiments, with aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase (AHH) activity as a marker, showed that isolated nuclei were not contaminated with endoplasmic reticulum in the form of microsomes formed upon homogenization. However, small "tags" of endoplasmic reticulum, continuous with the nuclear membrane, and indiscernable in electron micrographs, could remain following centrifugation and account for all of the measurable enzyme activity in the isolated nuclei. It was reasoned that if endoplasmic reticulum accounted for all of the activity, then the ratio of nuclear to microsomal activity for all enzymes determined should be the same. The ratios of epoxide hydrolase and AHH were found to differ in the two fractions. The simplest interpretation of these data was that drug metabolizing enzymes existed in the nuclei. However, the distribution of drug metabolizing enzymes throughout the endoplasmic reticulum is known to be heterogeneous and these "tags" could differ from the total endoplasmic reticulum (microsomes) in their enzyme make-up. Whether these enzymes are in the nuclear membrane, nucleoplasm, or as "tags" of endoplasmic reticulum, they represent activities in close proximity to potential target sites in the nucleus. The inhibition, induction, and activation characteristics of nuclear and microsomal enzymes were studied with the goal of selective manipulation of nuclear enzymes. The enzymes in the nuclear and microsomal fractions were found to differ' only in quantitative inducibility, and were identical in all other respects. Therefore, the selective manipulation of nuclear enzymes was not achieved. The induction of hepatic drug metabolizing enzymes is a measure of altered genetic expression in the liver. Inducers of drug metabolizing enzymes have also been shown to promote neoplasia in the liver. Therefore, studying the induction of such enzymes may lead to a further understanding of the mechanism of tumour promotion. Phenobarbital, 3-methylcholanthrene and pregnenolone-16α-carbonitrile produce three distinct induction responses. In the present study, spironolactone and trans-stiIbene oxide were shown to produce distinct induction responses, also. Spironolactone was shown to be a different inducer based on the protein band patterns observed following SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of liver microsomes. trans-Stilbene oxide was found to produce a significantly different maximal level of AHH activity. The observation of five distinct induction responses suggests at least five recognition sites (receptors) mediating the pleiotropic actions of exogenous compounds in the liver.

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