Superoxide dismutase activity and novel reactions with hydrogen peroxide of histidine-containing nickel(II)-oligopeptide complexes and nickel(II)-induced structural changes in synthetic DNA
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At physiologic pH values, histidine-containing nickel(II) oligopeptides reduced the flux of superoxide anion (O2-) generated in the hypoxanthine/xanthine oxidase system. The postulated involvement of the Ni(III)/Ni(II) redox couple in this apparent dismutation receives indirect support from electron-spin resonance data. These complexes also catalyzed the disproportionation of hydrogen peroxide, a process which generates active intermediates capable of hydroxylating p-nitrophenol and oxidizing uric acid to allantoin. An oxene moiety, namely [Nio]2+, is postulated as the active species in these H2O2-dependent reactions. Spectral analysis showed that monovalent, divalent and trivalent ions induced cooperative conformational changes in synthetic polydeoxynucleotides. For the nickel(II) ion, resistance to DNase-I activity clearly showed that an alternating G-C sequence is required for the observed transitions. It is concluded that the ability of nickel(II) peptide complexes to participate in active oxygen biochemistry suggests a possible role for nickel as a chemical promoter of cancer, whereas the capacity of the nickel(II) ion to induce conformational changes in DNA could, in principle, affect gene expression. Of course, the validity of both hypotheses require that the observed reactions be verified as biologically significant.
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