1. The activity of an enzyme catalysing the loss of O6-methylguanine from methylated DNA was increasing during liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy. Activity was increased 3-fold by 24h and was maximal (6-fold increase) over the period 48-72h after operation. 2. This activity could also be induced by chronic treatment with dimethylnitrosamine, but the maximal response amounted to a 2-3-fold change (with the greater effect in male rats) after 4-6 weeks of exposure to daily doses of 2 mg of dimethylnitrosamine/kg. 3. Neither partial hepatectomy nor treatment with dimethylnitrosamine increased the activities of two other enzymes repairing alkylated DNA, DNA (7-methylguanine-)glycosylase and DNA (3-methyladenine-)glycosylase. 4. These results therefore indicate that there is a selective induction of the O6-methylguanine removal system during hepatocyte proliferation. Since this product is known to lead to mutations and its persistence in DNA throughout cell replication has been implicated in tumour initiation, this induction may play a role in resistance to carcinogenesis by alkylating agents.
- © 1981 London: The Biochemical Society