1. DNA was treated with N-methyl-N-nitrosourea at pH7–8, 37°C, degraded to yield 3- and 7-methylpurines and deoxyribonucleosides and the reaction products were separated by chromatography on ion-exchange resins. The following methods for identification and determination of products were used: with unlabelled N-methyl-N-nitrosourea, u.v. absorption; use of methyl-14C-labelled N-methyl-N-nitrosourea and use of [14C]thymine-labelled DNA. 2. The synthesis of O4-methylthymidine and its identification by u.v. and mass spectroscopy are reported. 3. 3-Methylthymidine and O4-methylthymidine were found as methylation products from N-methyl-N-nitrosourea with thymidine and with DNA, in relatively small yields. Unidentified products containing thymine were found in enzymic digests of N-methyl-N-nitrosourea-treated DNA, which may be phosphotriesters. 4. The possible role of formation of methylthymines in mutagenesis by N-methyl-N-nitrosourea is discussed.
- © 1973 London: The Biochemical Society