Human DNA ligase and DNA polymerase as molecular targets for heavy metals and anticancer drugs

Shu-wei Yang, The University of Texas School of Public Health


DNA ligase and DNA polymerase play important roles in DNA replication, repair, and recombination. Frequencies of spontaneous and chemical- and physical-induced mutations are correlated to the fidelity of DNA replication. This dissertation elucidates the mechanisms of the DNA ligation reaction by DNA ligases and demonstrates that human DNA ligase I and DNA polymerase $\alpha$ are the molecular targets for two metal ions, Zn$\sp{2+}$ and Cd$\sp{2+},$ and an anticancer drug, F-ara-ATP. Human DNA ligases were purified to homogeneity and their AMP binding domains were mapped. Although their AMP-binding domains are similar, there could be difference between the two ligases in their DNA binding domains. The formation of the AMP-DNA intermediate and the successive ligation reaction by human DNA ligases were analyzed. Both reactions showed their substrate specificity for ligases I and II, required Mg2+, and were inhibited by ATP. A protein inhibitor from HeLa cells and specific for human DNA ligase I but not ligase II and T4 ligase was discovered. It reversibly inhibited DNA ligation activity but not the AMP-binding activity due to the formation of a reversible ligase I-inhibitor complex. F-ara-ATP inhibited human DNA ligase I activity by competing with ATP for the AMP-binding site of DNA ligase I, forming a ligase I-F-ara-AMP complex, as well as when it was incorporated at 3$\sp\prime$-terminus of DNA nick by DNA polymerase $\alpha.$ All steps of the DNA ligation reaction were inhibited by Zn$\sp{2+}$ and Cd$\sp{2+}$ in a concentration-dependent manner. Both ions did not show the ability to change the fidelity of DNA ligation reaction catalyzed by human DNA ligase I. However, Zn$\sp{2+}$ and Cd$\sp{2+}$ showed their contradictory effects on the fidelity of the reaction by human DNA polymerase $\alpha.$ Zn$\sp{2+}$ decreased the frequency of misinsertion but less affected that of mispair extension. On the contrary, Cd$\sp{2+}$ increased the frequencies of both misinsertion and mispair extension at very low concentration. Our data provided strong evidence in the molecular mechanisms for the mutagenicity of zinc and cadmium, and were comparable with the results previously reported.

Subject Area

Molecular biology|Genetics|Oncology|Toxicology

Recommended Citation

Yang, Shu-wei, "Human DNA ligase and DNA polymerase as molecular targets for heavy metals and anticancer drugs" (1992). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9302803.