[20-3H]12-Deoxyphorbol 13-isobutyrate ([3H]DPB), an inflammatory but relatively nonpromoting analogue of the phorbol ester tumor promoters, bound to mouse skin particulate preparations in a specific, saturable, and reversible manner. Analysis of the binding yielded curvilinear Scatchard plots, consistent with two binding sites present at 0.14 (Site 1) and 1.6 (Site 2) pmol/mg protein and possessing binding affinities of 6.9 and 86 nm, respectively. Structure-activity analysis yielded good correlation (r = 0.94) for a series of 15 diterpene derivatives, including mezerein, between binding affinities at Site 2 and literature values for mouse ear inflammatory potencies. Comparison of binding by [3H]DPB with that by the typical phorbol ester [20-3H]phorbol 12,13-dibutyrate ([3H]PDBU) indicated that PDBU also bound to the sites recognized by [3H]DPB, with affinities of 0.7 and 10 nm, respectively. In addition, a third PDBU binding site was present in mouse skin at 1.9 pmol/mg protein (Site 3) and possessed an affinity of 53 nm. The affinity of DPB for Site 3, determined from competition of [3H]PDBU binding, was 5400 nm. Despite problems in quantitation, the structure-activity relations for Site 3 appeared to differ from those at Site 2 and resembled more closely those expected for complete promoters. Whether the different binding sites represent distinct protein receptors or the same receptor differentially modified remains to be determined.


This research was supported in part by Grant BC 345 from the American Cancer Society and by Grant CA 22895 from the NIH.

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