Mutation research

From mutagenic to non-mutagenic nitroarenes: effect of bulky alkyl substituents on the mutagenic activity of 4-nitrobiphenyl in Salmonella typhimurium. Part I. Substituents ortho to the nitro group and in 2'-position.

PMID 10771271


Eleven alkyl substituted derivatives of 4-nitrobiphenyl (4NBp) and two corresponding nitroso compounds were synthesised and tested for mutagenic potency in strains TA98 and TA100 of Salmonella typhimurium. The mutagenicity of compounds substituted ortho to the nitro group (3-methyl-, 3-ethyl-, 3-isopropyl-, 3-tertbutyl-, 3, 5-diethyl-, 3,5-diisopropyl-, and 3,5-ditertbutyl-4NBp) decreased with growing steric demand of the alkyl substituents in both tester strains. The most sterically hindered compounds were non-mutagenic even at highest concentrations. This reduction of mutagenicity is correlated with deviations from the coplanar orientation of the nitro group relative to the aromatic plane. Since a comparable decrease of mutagenicity for the nitroso compounds (4NOBp and 3-tertbutyl-4NOBp) was not observed, the first reduction step of non-planar nitro groups must be inhibited. Alkyl groups in the 2'-position of 4NBp (2'-methyl-, 2'-ethyl-, 2'-isopropyl-, and 2',4', 6'-trimethyl-4NBp) also reduced mutagenic activity with increasing size and removed it completely for the most sterically hindered species (2'-isopropyl-, 2',4',6'-trimethyl-4NBp). In this case, the co-planarity of the nitro group is not affected but the twisting of the two aromatic rings, which is associated with a less effective charge delocalisation of the nitrenium ion. The experimental mutagenicities of all nitro compounds were compared to predicted values, that are based on recently developed empirical equations. While there was reasonable correspondence for the parent compound (4NBp), its ortho methylated derivative (3-methyl-4NBp) and two highly hydrophobic dialkylated species (3,5-diisopropyl- and 3, 5-ditertbutyl-4NBp), predictions for all other alkyl substituted compounds were too high. Thus, steric parameters should be included to improve the general validity of predictions by means of quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSAR).