Near-ultraviolet photolysis of β-phenylpyruvic acid generates free radicals and results in DNA damage
Ultraviolet A (UVA) light (315–400 nm) is ubiquitously found in our environment and constitutes about 95% of the total solar UV; all UVC and most UVB being absorbed by the stratospheric ozone layer. Compared with UVB and C, UVA does not show any direct effect on biological systems. Indirect effects of UVA, however, have been recognised overwhelmingly and this includes photosensitization of biological and non-biological compounds and production of free radicals many of which include oxygen and are hence known as reactive oxygen species or ROS. Several types of free radicals have been identified although their impacts on various macro- and micro-biomolecules are yet to be fully elucidated. β-Phenylpyruvic acid is ubiquitously found in eukaryotic cells as a metabolite of phenylalanine, which is subsequently converted to phenyllactate and/or to 2-hydroxyphenylacetate and mandelate. In patients suffering from phenylketonuria the hydroxylation of phenylalanine to tyrosine is defective due to lack of phenylalanine hydroxylase. These result in accumulation and excretion of this compound in the urine. Here we present evidence that photolysis of β-phenylpyruvic acid by a skin tanning lamp, emitting 99% UVA (315–400 nm) and 1% UVB (290–315 nm) generates carboxyl radicals (CO2) and also possibly causes direct electron transfer (or type 1) reactions. Electron paramagnetic resonance was used to detect the free radicals. To determine the biological effects of this photolytic reaction, T7 was exposed to these photolytic reactive agents and found to lead to high levels of phage inactivation. Damage to DNA and/or components such as tail fibre proteins may be involved in T7 inactivation. In addition, our unpublished data suggest that certain phenylketonuria cell lines are more sensitive to PPA + NUV, lending importance to photolytic studies of this agent.
Journal: Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology - Volume 89, Issues 2–3, 14 December 2007, Pages 110–116