Interactions of Procarcinogenic Heterocyclic Amines and Indolocarbazoles with the Dioxin Receptor

Marika Kleman, Jan Ake Gustafsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Cooking of protein-rich food generates procarcinogenic heterocyclic aromatic amines (HCA) in amounts that range in the part per billion levels. HCA have been reported to induce xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes of the cytochrome P450 1A (CYP1A) subfamily, most notably the CYP1A2 isoform. The regulatory mechanism of the CYP1A induction by HCA is, however, unclear. Studies in vivo in rats and in primary hepatocyte cultures revealed that MelQx induced both CYP1A1/1A2 proteins and the corresponding catalytic activities. In contrast to previous studies, no preferential induction of CYP1A2 was observed in the present study. CYP1A1 and CYP1A2 are target genes of the intracellular dioxin receptor. This receptor interacts with xenobiotic response elements (XREs) of target promoters upon binding the environmental pollutant dioxin or related compounds. HCA exhibited capacity to activate the dioxin receptor to a form which interacts with XRE in vitro. Taken together, these results suggest that MelQx regulates both CYP1A isozymes by the same mechanism involving the dioxin receptor. Another group of putative dioxin receptor ligands of dietary orgin are the indolocarbazoles, which are produced in vivo from precursor molecules in cruciferous plants. Indolocarbazoles potently regulated gene expression of a reporter gene driven by a minimal XRE in both mouse and human hepatoma cells. The indolocarbazole-induced human receptor appeared to form more stable complexes with XRE in vitro relative to those generated by the dioxin-activated receptor. This study indicates that the HCA and the indolocarbazoles both represent distinct classes of dietary dioxin receptor agonists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)741-762
Number of pages22
JournalBiological Chemistry Hoppe-Seyler
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1996


  • Cytochrome P450
  • Gene expression
  • Metabolism
  • Mutagen
  • Primary hepatocytes
  • Xenobiotic response element

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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