Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

SJG-136, a pyrrolo[2,1-c][1,4]benzodiazepine (PBD) dimer, is a highly efficient interstrand crosslinking agent that reacts with guanine bases in a 5'-GATC-3' sequence in the DNA minor groove. SJG-136 crosslinks form rapidly and persist compared to those produced by conventional crosslinking agents such as nitrogen mustard, melphalan or cisplatin which bind in the DNA major groove. A panel of Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells with defined defects in specific DNA repair pathways were exposed to the bi-functional agents SJG-136 and melphalan, and to their mono-functional analogues mmy-SJG and mono-functional melphalan. SJG-136 was >100 times more cytotoxic than melphalan, and the bi-functional agents were much more cytotoxic than their respective mono-functional analogues. Cellular sensitivity of both SJG-136 and melphalan was dependent on the XPF-ERCC1 heterodimer, and homologous recombination repair factors XRCC2 and XRCC3. The relative level of sensitivity of these repair mutant cell lines to SJG-136 was, however, significantly less than with major groove crosslinking agents. In contrast to melphalan, there was no clear correlation between sensitivity to SJG-136 and crosslink unhooking capacity measured using a modified comet assay. Furthermore, repair of SJG-136 crosslinks did not involve the formation of DNA double-strand breaks. SJG-136 cytotoxicity is likely to result from the poor recognition of DNA damage by repair proteins resulting in the slow repair of both mono-adducts and more importantly crosslinks in the minor groove.

Original publication




Journal article


Nucleic Acids Res

Publication Date





3283 - 3291


Animals, Antineoplastic Agents, Benzodiazepines, Benzodiazepinones, CHO Cells, Cell Survival, Cricetinae, Cricetulus, Cross-Linking Reagents, DNA Damage, DNA Repair, DNA-Binding Proteins, Endonucleases, Melphalan, Pyrroles, Recombination, Genetic