Roles of mismatch repair proteins in the recognition and processing of DNA interstrand crosslinks in human cells

Qi Wu, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


DNA interstrand crosslinks (ICLs) are among the most toxic type of damage to a cell. Many ICL-inducing agents are widely used as therapeutic agents, e.g. cisplatin, psoralen. A bettor understanding of the cellular mechanism that eliminates ICLs is important for the improvement of human health. However, ICL repair is still poorly understood in mammals. Using a triplex-directed site-specific ICL model, we studied the roles of mismatch repair (MMR) proteins in ICL repair in human cells. We are also interested in using psoralen-conjugated triplex-forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) to direct ICLs to a specific site in targeted DNA and in the mammalian genomes. MSH2 protein is the common subunit of two MMR recognition complexes, and MutSα and MutSβ. We showed that MSH2 deficiency renders human cell hypersensitive to psoralen ICLs. MMR recognition complexes bind specifically to triplex-directed psoralen ICLs in vitro. Together with the fact that psoralen ICL-induced repair synthesis is dramatically decreased in MSH2 deficient cell extracts, we demonstrated that MSH2 function is critical for the recognition and processing of psoralen ICLs in human cells. Interestingly, lack of MSH2 does not reduce the level of psoralen ICL-induced mutagenesis in human cells, suggesting that MSH2 does not contribute to error-generating repair of psoralen ICLs, and therefore, may represent a novel error-free mechanism for repairing ICLs. We also studied the role of MLH1, anther key protein in MMR, in the processing of psoralen ICLs. MLH1-deficient human cells are more resistant to psoralen plus UVA treatment. Importantly, MLH1 function is not required for the mutagenic repair of psoralen ICLs, suggesting that it is not involved in the error-generating repair of this type of DNA damage in human cells. These are the first data indicating mismatch repair proteins may participate in a relatively error-free mechanism for processing psoralen ICL in human cells. Enhancement of MMR protein function relative to nucleotide excision repair proteins may reduce the mutagenesis caused by DNA ICLs in humans. In order to specifically target ICLs to mammalian genes, we identified novel TFO target sequences in mouse and human genomes. Using this information, many critical mammalian genes can now be targeted by TFOs.

Subject Area

Molecular biology

Recommended Citation

Wu, Qi, "Roles of mismatch repair proteins in the recognition and processing of DNA interstrand crosslinks in human cells" (2006). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3231749.