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Your Environment. Your Health.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Superfund Research Program

Proteins and DNA - New Methods of Adduct Detection

Project Leader: Steven R. Tannenbaum
Grant Number: P42ES004675
Funding Period: 1995 - 2000

Project Summary (1995-2000)

The overall goals of this part of the research program are to apply molecular approaches to the development of biomarkers of exposure to some key toxic components in the environment of people living in the Aberjona region. These biomarkers include readily accessible blood proteins and DNA from cells in blood as well as protein and DNA from cells in potential target organs. The research is a continuation and amplification of earlier and ongoing research in these same areas. The methods include the most advanced approaches in mass spectrometry, cryogenic fluorescence spectroscopy, and postlabeling analysis of modified DNA. The contaminants in the main focus of this research are the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), representing exposure from air and food, and arsenic and chromium, representing exposure from water. Through examination of both serum albumin and histones and DNA researchers are able to develop both a short- and long-term scale for exposure and damage. The combined use of 35S postlabeling and laser fluorescence and electrospray mass spectrometry gives unparalleled sensitivity and specificity to the use of biomarkers in epidemiology. Monoclonal antibodies are added to those already made to give rapid and accurate analysis of oxidatively modified DNA. Experiments are conducted to test the possibility of interactions between chromium and arsenic. Finally, all developed biomarkers are employed in exposure studies on people in the Aberjona region.

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