Advances in Cancer Research [Vol II] by J. Greenstein, et al.,

By J. Greenstein, et al.,

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This may explain why it may be necessary to use 50-100 times the concentration of a monofunctional derivative to achieve a biological effect comparable with that produced by a polyfunctional compound. These experiments do not exclude the possibility that the change in shape brought about by the active alkylating agents may be produced by intramolecular crosslinking, but this reaction can only take place if the DNA molecule is highly flexible, whereas the mechanism just discussed could operate, even if the molecule is fairly stiff.

5% (see Fig. 9). D. Summary. The reactions of the carboxyl of proteins near their isoelectric point with the cytotoxic alkylating agents is anomalous. From chemical consideration, supported by experiments with model substances and other macromolecules (see p. 17), reaction with the carboxyl groups, and no reaction with the amino group’s is to be expected. Mustard gas comes closest to these predictions, but even with this compound the fact that at the most half of the available carboxyl groups react is surprising.

It is interesting that the aliphatic mustards fail to crosslink wool although they will crosslink soluble protein. The experiments with wool fibers do not, of course, constitute proof against the crosslinking hypothesis, although in the author’s opinion they detract from the support which had been deduced from the fact that the cytotoxic alkylating agents were all capable of crosslinking macromolecules in one system or another. A further argument adduced by Hendry et al. (1951b) against this hypothesis is that activity is found both in substances in which the two reactive centers are close to one another and when they are 15 to 20 A.

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