Plant-activation of the bicyclic aromatic amines benzidine and 4-aminobiphenyl

Young H. Ju, Michael Jacob Plewa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Benzidine and 4-aminobiphenyl (4-ABP) are promutagenic bicyclic aromatic amines that are activated into frameshift and base pair substitution mutagens by plant systems. Using the plant cell/microbe coincubation assay, plant-activated benzidine from 0 to 50 μM induced a concentration-response in Salmonella typhimurium. At concentrations above 5 μM, plant-activated benzidine induced frameshift and base pair substitution mutations in the N- or O-acetyltransferase over-expressing strains, DJ460, YG1024, and YG1029. With plant-activated 4-ABP, concentrations above 250 μM induced a significant mutagenic response in strains YG1024 and YG1029. A tobacco cell-free mixture, TX1MX, activated benzidne and 4-ABP into mutagenic metabolites in S. typhimurium strains YG1024, YG1029, and DJ460. The mutagenic sensitivities of plant-activated benzidine and 4-ABP were the same with two different types of plant activation systems, TX1 suspension cells and TX1MX cell-free medium. The plant activation of these aromatic amines is mediated by tobacco cell peroxidase. Plant-activated benzidine and 4-ABP are converted into intermediates that serve as substrates for bacterial or humanacetylCoA: N-hydroxyarylamine N-acetyltransferase to generate the ultimate mutagenic products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-90
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental and Molecular Mutagenesis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 24 1997


  • 4-Aminobiphenyl
  • Benzidine
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Diethyldithiocarbamate
  • O-acetyltransferase
  • Plant activation
  • Salmonella typhimurium
  • TX1
  • TX1MX

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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