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# Roles of Copper and ${\rm O}_{2}^{\overline{\cdot}}$ in the Radiation-Induced Inactivation of T7 Bacteriophage

Amram Samuni, Mordechai Chevion and Gidon Czapski
Vol. 99, No. 3 (Sep., 1984), pp. 562-572
DOI: 10.2307/3576330
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3576330
Page Count: 11
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## Abstract

The effect of copper on the radiation damage induced in T7 bacteriophage has been investigated. The phages were γ-irradiated and the effects of copper(II) ions in the presence of various additives and radical scavengers were examined in an attempt to better understand the effect of transition metal ions on the role of free radicals, particularly superoxide, in biological damage. The present work extends a study previously done on isolated enzyme to a whole biological entity. Copper(II) ions even at very low concentrations enhanced the lethal effect of radiation. This sensitization was observed in both the presence and the absence of oxygen. The effect of copper could be reverted by chelating agents such as EDTA or 1,10-phenanthroline. Hydrogen peroxide enhanced the sensitizing effect of copper, though little if any protection was provided by catalase or SOD. High molecular weight scavengers of free radicals in the presence of both copper(II) and hydrogen peroxide had no protective effect. (This is in contrast to metal-free systems where, although such scavengers are incapable of penetrating the phages, they protect them against inactivation.) These scavengers, without added H2 O2, afforded only slight protection to the irradiated phages in the presence of Cu. Low molecular weight scavengers of free radicals reduced but did not eliminate the sensitizing effect of copper. The sensitizing effect of copper was also observed with other T-odd phages, but not with the T-even series. Copper(II) ions under similar experimental conditions did not sensitize T4 or T2 phages but rather had a protective effect. The results are interpreted in terms of a site-specific Fenton mechanism according to which the binding of the metal ion to the phages is a prerequisite for the occurrence of the biological damage. The results also indicate that most of the copper effect is endogenous. This is in accord with the failure of copper to sensitize the T-even phages, which differ by the rigidity and permeability of their outer coat structures.

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