Alkylating agent

Definition

noun

A highly reactive substance that replaces hydrogen by an alkyl group especially in a biologically important molecule (e.g. DNA).


Supplement

Alkylating agents are grouped into nucleophilic and electrophilic:

Alkylating agents are used clinically by inhibiting cell division and growth, thus, are used to treat some cancers. Alkylated DNA either does not coil or uncoil properly, resulting in cytotoxicity that further leads to cell growth inhibition and initiation of apoptosis.


See also: alkylation

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