Structure-activity relationships imply different mechanisms of action for ochratoxin A-mediated cytotoxicity and genotoxicity.
ABSTRACT Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a fungal toxin that is classified as a possible human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence for carcinogenicity in animal studies. The toxin is known to promote oxidative DNA damage through production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). The toxin also generates covalent DNA adducts, and it has been difficult to separate the biological effects caused by DNA adduction from that of ROS generation. In the current study, we have derived structure-activity relationships (SAR) for the role of the C5 substituent of OTA (C5-X = Cl) by first comparing the ability of OTA, OTBr (C5-X = Br), OTB (C5-X = H), and OTHQ (C5-X = OH) to photochemically react with GSH and 2'-deoxyguanosine (dG). OTA, OTBr, and OTHQ react covalently with GSH and dG following photoirradiation, while the nonchlorinated OTB does not react photochemically with GSH and dG. These findings correlate with their ability to generate covalent DNA adducts (direct genotoxicity) in human bronchial epithelial cells (WI26) and human kidney (HK2) cells, as evidenced by the (32)P-postlabeling technique. OTB lacks direct genotoxicity, while OTA, OTBr, and OTHQ act as direct genotoxins. In contrast, their cytotoxicity in opossum kidney epithelial cells (OK) and WI26 cells did not show a correlation with photoreactivity. In OK and WI26 cells, OTA, OTBr, and OTB are cytotoxic, while the hydroquinone OTHQ failed to exhibit cytotoxicity. Overall, our data show that the C5-Cl atom of OTA is critical for direct genotoxicity but plays a lesser role in OTA-mediated cytotoxicity. These SARs suggest different mechanisms of action (MOA) for OTA genotoxicity and cytotoxicity and are consistent with recent findings showing OTA mutagenicity to stem from direct genotoxicity, while cytotoxicity is derived from oxidative DNA damage.