6-thioguanine damages mitochondrial DNA and causes mitochondrial dysfunction in human cells


The anticancer and immunosuppressant thiopurines cause 6-thioguanine (6-TG) to accumulate in nuclear DNA. We report that 6-TG is also readily incorporated into mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) where it is rapidly oxidized. The oxidized forms of mtDNA 6-TG inhibit replication by DNA Pol-γ. Accumulation of oxidized 6-TG is associated with reduced mtDNA transcription, a decline in mitochondrial protein levels, and loss of mitochondrial function. Ultraviolet A radiation (UVA) also oxidizes mtDNA 6-TG. Cells without mtDNA are less sensitive to killing by a combination of 6-TG and UVA than their mtDNA-containing counterparts, indicating that photochemical mtDNA 6-TG oxidation contributes to 6-TG-mediated UVA photosensitization.

Journal details

Journal FEBS Letters
Volume 585
Issue number 24
Pages 3941-3946
Publication date


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