Living organisms are constantly threatened by environmental DNA-damaging agents, including UV and ionizing radiation (IR). Repair of various forms of DNA damage caused by IR is normally thought to follow lesion-specific repair pathways with distinct enzymatic machinery. DNA double strand break is one of the most serious kinds of damage induced by IR, which is repaired through double strand break (DSB) repair mechanisms, including homologous recombination (HR) and non-homologous end joining (NHEJ). However, recent studies have presented increasing evidence that various DNA repair pathways are not separated, but well interlinked. It has been suggested that non-DSB repair mechanisms, such as Nucleotide Excision Repair (NER), Mismatch Repair (MMR) and cell cycle regulation, are highly involved in DSB repairs. These findings revealed previously unrecognized roles of various non-DSB repair genes and indicated that a successful DSB repair requires both DSB repair mechanisms and non-DSB repair systems. One of our recent studies found that suppressed expression of non-DSB repair genes, such as XPA, RPA and MLH1, influenced the yield of IR induced micronuclei formation and/or chromosome aberrations, suggesting that these genes are highly involved in DSB repair and DSB-related cell cycle arrest, which reveals new roles for these gene products in the DNA repair network. In this review, we summarize current progress on the function of non-DSB repair-related proteins, especially those that participate in NER and MMR pathways, and their influence on DSB repair. In addition, we present our developing view that the DSB repair mechanisms are more complex and are regulated by not only the well known HR/NHEJ pathways, but also a systematically coordinated cellular network.
Ionizing radiation (IR); DNA damage; DSB repair; NER; MMR and cell cycle.
DNA is continuously exposed to many different damaging agents such as environmental chemicals, UV light, ionizing radiation, and reactive cellular metabolites. DNA lesions can result in different phenotypical consequences ranging from a number of diseases, including cancer, to cellular malfunction, cell death, or aging. To counteract the deleterious effects of DNA damage, cells have developed various repair systems, including biochemical pathways responsible for the removal of single-strand lesions such as base excision repair (BER) and nucleotide excision repair (NER) or specialized polymerases temporarily taking over lesion-arrested DNA polymerases during the S phase in translesion synthesis (TLS). There are also other mechanisms of DNA repair such as homologous recombination repair (HRR), nonhomologous end-joining repair (NHEJ), or DNA damage response system (DDR). This paper reviews bioinformatics resources specialized in disseminating information about DNA repair pathways, proteins involved in repair mechanisms, damaging agents, and DNA lesions.
The current increase in the incidence and severity of infectious diseases mandates improved understanding of the basic biology and DNA repair profiles of virulent microbes. In our studies of the major pathogen and model organism Neisseria meningitidis, we constructed a panel of mutants inactivating genes involved in base excision repair, mismatch repair, nucleotide excision repair (NER), translesion synthesis, and recombinational repair pathways. The highest spontaneous mutation frequency among the N. meningitidis single mutants was found in the MutY-deficient strain as opposed to mutS mutants in Escherichia coli, indicating a role for meningococcal MutY in antibiotic resistance development. Recombinational repair was recognized as a major pathway counteracting methyl methanesulfonate-induced alkylation damage in the N. meningitidis. In contrast to what has been shown in other species, meningococcal NER did not contribute significantly to repair of alkylation-induced DNA damage, and meningococcal recombinational repair may thus be one of the main pathways for removal of abasic (apurinic/apyrimidinic) sites and strand breaks in DNA. Conversely, NER was identified as the main meningococcal defense pathway against UV-induced DNA damage. N. meningitidis RecA single mutants exhibited only a moderate decrease in survival after UV exposure as opposed to E. coli recA strains, which are extremely UV sensitive, possibly reflecting the lack of a meningococcal SOS response. In conclusion, distinct differences between N. meningitidis and established DNA repair characteristics in E. coli and other species were identified.
DNA is subjected to many endogenous and exogenous damages. All organisms have developed a complex network of DNA repair mechanisms. A variety of different DNA repair pathways have been reported: direct reversal, base excision repair, nucleotide excision repair, mismatch repair, and recombination repair pathways. Recent studies of the fundamental mechanisms for DNA repair processes have revealed a complexity beyond that initially expected, with inter- and intrapathway complementation as well as functional interactions between proteins involved in repair pathways. In this paper we give a broad overview of the whole DNA repair system and focus on the molecular basis of the repair machineries, particularly in Thermus thermophilus HB8.
Many conventional chemotherapeutic drugs exert their cytotoxic function by inducing DNA damage in the tumor cell. Therefore, a cell-inherent DNA repair pathway, which reverses the DNA-damaging effect of the cytotoxic drugs, can mediate therapeutic resistance to chemotherapy. The monofunctional DNA-alkylating agent temozolomide (TMZ) is a commonly used chemotherapeutic drug and the gold standard treatment for glioblastoma (GBM). Although the activity of DNA repair protein O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) has been described as the main modulator to determine the sensitivity of GBM to TMZ, a subset of GBM does not respond despite MGMT inactivation, suggesting that another DNA repair mechanism may also modulate the tolerance to TMZ. Considerable interest has focused on MGMT, mismatch repair (MMR), and the base excision repair (BER) pathway in the mechanism of mediating TMZ resistance, but emerging roles for the DNA strand-break repair pathway have been demonstrated. In the first part of this review article, we briefly review the significant role of MGMT, MMR, and the BER pathway in the tolerance to TMZ; in the last part, we review the recent publications that demonstrate possible roles of DNA strand-break repair pathways, such as single-strand break repair and double-strand break repair, as well as the Fanconi anemia pathway in the repair process after alkylating agent-based therapy. It is possible that all of these repair pathways have a potential to modulate the sensitivity to TMZ and aid in overcoming the therapeutic resistance in the clinic.
TMZ; DNA repair; PARP; homologous recombination; chemoresistance
Organisms like Dictyostelium discoideum, often referred to as DNA damage “extremophiles”, can survive exposure to extremely high doses of radiation and DNA crosslinking agents. These agents form highly toxic DNA crosslinks that cause extensive DNA damage. However, little is known about how Dictyostelium and the other “extremophiles” can tolerate and repair such large numbers of DNA crosslinks. Here we describe a comprehensive genetic analysis of crosslink repair in Dictyostelium discoideum. We analyse three gene groups that are crucial for a replication-coupled repair process that removes DNA crosslinks in higher eukarya: The Fanconi anaemia pathway (FA), translesion synthesis (TLS), and nucleotide excision repair. Gene disruption studies unexpectedly reveal that the FA genes and the TLS enzyme Rev3 play minor roles in tolerance to crosslinks in Dictyostelium. However, disruption of the Xpf nuclease subcomponent results in striking hypersensitivity to crosslinks. Genetic interaction studies reveal that although Xpf functions with FA and TLS gene products, most Xpf mediated repair is independent of these two gene groups. These results suggest that Dictyostelium utilises a distinct Xpf nuclease-mediated repair process to remove crosslinked DNA. Other DNA damage–resistant organisms and chemoresistant cancer cells might adopt a similar strategy to develop resistance to DNA crosslinking agents.
Organisms are constantly exposed to environmental and endogenous molecules that chemically modify the DNA in their genomes. A particularly pernicious chemical modification is when the two strands of DNA are crosslinked. These crosslinks must be removed so that genomes can be copied, and the damage caused by their persistence is often exploited in cancer chemotherapy. It is also no surprise that all organisms have developed effective means to remove these lesions, and work in prokaryotes and eukaryotes has shown that crosslinks are removed by the concerted action of certain DNA repair pathways. Whilst the obvious route of accumulating crosslinks is by exposure to anti-cancer drugs, these lesions may also arise spontaneously in DNA. This could be why inherited inactivation of one of the crosslink repair pathways results in the catastrophic human illness Fanconi anaemia. Here we determine how the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum, an organism that is unusually resistant to DNA-damaging agents, removes crosslinks. Our results indicate that this organism has evolved a distinct strategy to remove these lesions. More specifically, we discover that a particular nuclease subcomponent removes the crosslinks by a distinct repair process. We postulate that this strategy to remove crosslinks could be used by other DNA damage–resistant organisms and also by cancer cells that have developed resistance to chemotherapy.
DNA is one of the prime molecules, and its stability is of utmost importance for proper functioning and existence of all living systems. Genotoxic chemicals and radiations exert adverse effects on genome stability. Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) (mainly UV-B: 280–315 nm) is one of the powerful agents that can alter the normal state of life by inducing a variety of mutagenic and cytotoxic DNA lesions such as cyclobutane-pyrimidine dimers (CPDs), 6-4 photoproducts (6-4PPs), and their Dewar valence isomers as well as DNA strand breaks by interfering the genome integrity. To counteract these lesions, organisms have developed a number of highly conserved repair mechanisms such as photoreactivation, base excision repair (BER), nucleotide excision repair (NER), and mismatch repair (MMR). Additionally, double-strand break repair (by homologous recombination and nonhomologous end joining), SOS response, cell-cycle checkpoints, and programmed cell death (apoptosis) are also operative in various organisms with the expense of specific gene products. This review deals with UV-induced alterations in DNA and its maintenance by various repair mechanisms.
Mistakes in DNA repair can result in sustained damage and genetic instability. We comprehensively evaluated common variants in DNA repair pathway genes for their association with postmenopausal breast cancer risk with and without respect to estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) subtypes.
In this nested case-control study of 1,145 prospectively ascertained breast cancer cases and 1,142 matched controls within the Nurses’ Health Study Cancer Genetic Markers of Susceptibility project, we evaluated 1,314 common genetic variants in 68 candidate genes. These variants were chosen to represent five DNA repair pathways including base excision repair, nucleotide excision repair, double strand break repair (homologous recombination and non-homologous end-joining), direct reversal repair, and mismatch repair, along with candidate DNA polymerases, Fanconi Anemia complementation groups, and other genes relevant to DNA damage recognition and response. Main effects, pathway effects and pair-wise interactions were evaluated using Logistic Regression, and the Admixture Maximum Likelihood (AML) and Kernel Machine tests.
Eight loci in linkage disequilibrium within the XRCC4 gene were associated with susceptibility to PR− breast cancer in main effect analyses (p-values corrected for multiple testing at the within-gene level <0.04). These loci drove the association between the non-homologous end-joining pathway, containing XRCC4, and PR− breast cancer (Admixture Maximum Likelihood p-value for the full pathway=0.002; p-value when the eight loci were removed=0.86). We performed the Kernel machine analysis to test the hypothesis of no linear or quadratic effects for any of the tested SNPs, or any SNP-SNP interactions among them, including those SNPs in XRCC4, and yielded a p-value of 0.85.
These findings suggest that common variation alone in DNA repair genes plays at most a small role in determining postmenopausal breast cancer risk among women of European ancestry, and support the theory that redundancies in DNA repair mechanisms may be compensatory.
Polymorphism; DNA repair; Breast cancer; Postmenopausal women; Pathway
DNA interstrand cross-links (ICLs) represent lethal DNA damage, because they block transcription, replication, and segregation of DNA. Because of their genotoxicity, agents inducing ICLs are often used in antitumor therapy. The repair of ICLs is complex and involves proteins belonging to nucleotide excision, recombination, and translesion DNA repair pathways in Escherichia coli, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and mammals. We cloned and analyzed mammalian homologs of the S. cerevisiae gene SNM1 (PSO2), which is specifically involved in ICL repair. Human Snm1, a nuclear protein, was ubiquitously expressed at a very low level. We generated mouse SNM1−/− embryonic stem cells and showed that these cells were sensitive to mitomycin C. In contrast to S. cerevisiae snm1 mutants, they were not significantly sensitive to other ICL agents, probably due to redundancy in mammalian ICL repair and the existence of other SNM1 homologs. The sensitivity to mitomycin C was complemented by transfection of the human SNM1 cDNA and by targeting of a genomic cDNA-murine SNM1 fusion construct to the disrupted locus. We also generated mice deficient for murine SNM1. They were viable and fertile and showed no major abnormalities. However, they were sensitive to mitomycin C. The ICL sensitivity of the mammalian SNM1 mutant suggests that SNM1 function and, by implication, ICL repair are at least partially conserved between S. cerevisiae and mammals.
The alteration of tumorigenic pathways leading to cancer is a degenerative disease process typically involving inactivation of tumor suppressor proteins and hyperactivation of oncogenes. One such oncogenic protein product is the murine double-minute 2, or Mdm2. While, Mdm2 has been primarily associated as the negative regulator of the p53 tumor suppressor protein there are many p53-independent roles demonstrated for this oncogene. DNA damage and chemotherapeutic agents are known to activate Mdm2 and DNA repair pathways. There are five primary DNA repair pathways involved in the maintenance of genomic integrity: Nucleotide excision repair (NER), Base excision repair (BER), Mismatch repair (MMR), Non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) and homologous recombination (HR). In this review, we will briefly describe these pathways and also delineate the functional interaction of Mdm2 with multiple DNA repair proteins. We will illustrate the importance of these interactions with Mdm2 and discuss how this is important for tumor progression, cellular proliferation in cancer.
base excision repair; cancer; homologous recombination; mismatch repair; murine double minute-2; non-homologous end joining; nucleotide excision repair
Genome stability in eukaryotic cells is maintained through efficient DNA damage repair pathways, which have to access and utilize chromatin as their natural template. Here we investigate the role of chromatin assembly factor 1 (CAF-1) and its interacting protein, PCNA, in the response of quiescent human cells to DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). The expression of CAF-1 and PCNA is dramatically induced in quiescent cells upon the generation of DSBs by the radiomimetic drug bleocin (a bleomycin compound) or by ionizing radiation. This induction depends on DNA-PK. CAF-1 and PCNA are recruited to damaged chromatin undergoing DNA repair of single- and double-strand DNA breaks by the base excision repair and nonhomologous end-joining pathways, respectively, in the absence of extensive DNA synthesis. CAF-1 prepared from repair-proficient quiescent cells after induction by bleocin mediates nucleosome assembly in vitro. Depletion of CAF-1 by RNA interference in bleocin-treated quiescent cells in vivo results in a significant loss of cell viability and an accumulation of DSBs. These results support a novel and essential role for CAF-1 in the response of quiescent human cells to DSBs, possibly by reassembling chromatin following repair of DNA strand breaks.
The many proteins that function in the Fanconi anaemia (FA) monoubiquitylation pathway initiate replicative DNA crosslink repair. However, it is not clear whether individual FA genes participate in DNA repair pathways other than homologous recombination and translesion bypass. Here we show that avian DT40 cell knockouts of two integral FA genes – UBE2T and FANCM are unexpectedly sensitive to UV-induced DNA damage. Comprehensive genetic dissection experiments indicate that both of these FA genes collaborate to promote nucleotide excision repair rather than translesion bypass to protect cells form UV genotoxicity. Furthermore, UBE2T deficiency impacts on the efficient removal of the UV-induced photolesion cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer. Therefore, this work reveals that the FA pathway shares two components with nucleotide excision repair, intimating not only crosstalk between the two major repair pathways, but also potentially identifying a UBE2T-mediated ubiquitin-signalling response pathway that contributes to nucleotide excision repair.
To study the mechanisms by which Escherichia coli modulates the genotoxic effects of DNA damage, a novel system has been developed which permits quantitative measurements of various E. coli pathways involved in mutagenesis and DNA repair. Events measured include fidelity and efficiency of translesion DNA synthesis, excision repair, and recombination repair. Our strategy involves heteroduplex plasmid DNA bearing a single site-specific DNA adduct and several mismatched regions. The plasmid replicates in a mismatch repair-deficient host with the mismatches serving as strand-specific markers. Analysis of progeny plasmid DNA for linkage of the strand-specific markers identifies the pathway from which the plasmid is derived. Using this approach, a single 1,N6-ethenodeoxyadenosine adduct was shown to be repaired inefficiently by excision repair, to inhibit DNA synthesis by approximately 80 to 90%, and to direct the incorporation of correct dTMP opposite this adduct. This approach is especially useful in analyzing the damage avoidance-tolerance mechanisms. Our results also show that (i) progeny derived from the damage avoidance-tolerance pathway(s) accounts for more than 15% of all progeny; (ii) this pathway(s) requires functional recA, recF, recO, and recR genes, suggesting the mechanism to be daughter strand gap repair; (iii) the ruvABC genes or the recG gene is also required; and (iv) the RecG pathway appears to be more active than the RuvABC pathway. Based on these results, the mechanism of the damage avoidance-tolerance pathway is discussed.
DNA damage from exogenous and endogenous sources can promote mutations and cell death. Fortunately, cells contain DNA repair and damage signalling pathways to reduce the mutagenic and cytotoxic effects of DNA damage. The identification of specific DNA repair proteins and the coordination of DNA repair pathways after damage has been a central theme to the field of Genetic Toxicology and we have developed a tool for use in this area. We have produced 99 molecular bar-coded Escherichia coli gene-deletion mutants specific to DNA repair and damage signalling pathways, and each bar-coded mutant can be tracked in pooled format using bar-code specific microarrays. Our design adapted bar-codes developed for the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Gene Deletion Project, which allowed us to utilize an available microarray product for pooled gene-exposure studies. Microarray-based screens were used for en masse identification of individual mutants sensitive to methyl methanesulfonate (MMS). As expected, gene deletion mutants specific to direct, base excision, and recombinational DNA repair pathways were identified as MMS-sensitive in our pooled assay, thus validating our resource. We have demonstrated that molecular bar-codes designed for S. cerevisiae are transferable to E. coli, and that they can be used with pre-existing microarrays to perform competitive growth experiments. Further, when comparing microarray to traditional plate-based screens both over-lapping and distinct results were obtained, which is a novel technical finding, with discrepancies between the two approaches explained by differences in output measurements (DNA content verse cell mass). The microarray-based classification of Δtag and ΔdinG cells as depleted after MMS exposure, contrary to plate-based methods, led to the discovery that Δtag and ΔdinG cells show a filamentation phenotype after MMS exposure, thus accounting for the discrepancy. A novel biological finding is the observation that while ΔdinG cells filament in response to MMS they exhibit wild-type sulA expression after exposure. This decoupling of filamentation from SulA levels suggests that DinG is associated with the SulA-independent filamentation pathway.
DNA mismatch repair proteins (MMR) maintain genetic stability by recognizing and repairing mismatched bases and insertion/deletion loops mistakenly incorporated during DNA replication, and initiate cellular response to certain types of DNA damage. Loss of MMR in mammalian cells has been linked to resistance to certain DNA damaging chemotherapeutic agents, as well as to increase risk of cancer. Mismatch repair pathway is considered to involve the concerted action of at least 20 proteins. The most abundant MMR mismatch-binding factor in eukaryotes, MutSα, recognizes and initiates the repair of base-base mismatches and small insertion/deletion. We performed molecular dynamics simulations on mismatched and damaged MutSα-DNA complexes. A comprehensive DNA binding site analysis of relevant conformations shows that MutSα proteins recognize the mismatched and platinum cross-linked DNA substrates in significantly different modes. Distinctive conformational changes associated with MutSα binding to mismatched and damaged DNA have been identified and they provide insight into the involvement of MMR proteins in DNA-repair and DNA-damage pathways. Stability and allosteric interactions at the heterodimer interface associated with the mismatch and damage recognition step allow for prediction of key residues in MMR cancer-causing mutations. A rigorous hydrogen bonding analysis for ADP molecules at the ATPase binding sites is also presented. Due to extended number of known MMR cancer causing mutations among the residues proved to make specific contacts with ADP molecules, recommendations for further studies on similar mutagenic effects were made.
DNA repair; MMR proteins; MutSα; MMR-dependent apoptosis; Mismatch recognition; MMR cancer causing mutations
Deficiency in repair of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA damage has been linked to several neurodegenerative disorders. Many recent experimental results indicate that the post-mitotic neurons are particularly prone to accumulation of unrepaired DNA lesions potentially leading to progressive neurodegeneration. Nucleotide excision repair is the cellular pathway responsible for removing helix-distorting DNA damage and deficiency in such repair is found in a number of diseases with neurodegenerative phenotypes, including Xeroderma Pigmentosum and Cockayne syndrome. The main pathway for repairing oxidative base lesions is base excision repair, and such repair is crucial for neurons given their high rates of oxygen metabolism. Mismatch repair corrects base mispairs generated during replication and evidence indicates that oxidative DNA damage can cause this pathway to expand trinucleotide repeats, thereby causing Huntington’s disease. Single-strand breaks are common DNA lesions and are associated with the neurodegenerative diseases, ataxia-oculomotor apraxia-1 and spinocerebellar ataxia with axonal neuropathy-1. DNA double-strand breaks are toxic lesions and two main pathways exist for their repair: homologous recombination and non-homologous end-joining. Ataxia telangiectasia and related disorders with defects in these pathways illustrate that such defects can lead to early childhood neurodegeneration. Aging is a risk factor for neurodegeneration and accumulation of oxidative mitochondrial DNA damage may be linked with the age-associated neurodegenerative disorders Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Mutation in the WRN protein leads to the premature aging disease Werner syndrome, a disorder that features neurodegeneration. In this article we review the evidence linking deficiencies in the DNA repair pathways with neurodegeneration.
DNA repair; Genomic instability; Reactive oxidative species; Neurodegeneration; Aging; Mitochondria; Cockayne syndrome; Alzheimer’s disease; Parkinson’s disease; Werner syndrome
Alkylating agents comprise a major class of frontline chemotherapeutic drugs that inflict cytotoxic DNA damage as their main mode of action, in addition to collateral mutagenic damage. Numerous cellular pathways, including direct DNA damage reversal, base excision repair (BER), and mismatch repair (MMR) respond to alkylation damage to defend against alkylation-induced cell death or mutation. However, maintaining a proper balance of activity both within and between these pathways is crucial for an organism's favorable response to alkylating agents. Furthermore, an individual's response to alkylating agents can vary considerably from tissue to tissue and from person to person, pointing to genetic and epigenetic mechanisms that modulate alkylating agent toxicity.
UvrD, a highly conserved helicase involved in mismatch repair, nucleotide excision repair (NER), and recombinational repair, plays a critical role in maintaining genomic stability and facilitating DNA lesion repair in many prokaryotic species. In this report, we focus on the UvrD homolog in Helicobacter pylori, a genetically diverse organism that lacks many known DNA repair proteins, including those involved in mismatch repair and recombinational repair, and that is noted for high levels of inter- and intragenomic recombination and mutation. H. pylori contains numerous DNA repeats in its compact genome and inhabits an environment rich in DNA-damaging agents that can lead to increased rearrangements between such repeats. We find that H. pylori UvrD functions to repair DNA damage and limit homologous recombination and DNA damage-induced genomic rearrangements between DNA repeats. Our results suggest that UvrD and other NER pathway proteins play a prominent role in maintaining genome integrity, especially after DNA damage; thus, NER may be especially critical in organisms such as H. pylori that face high-level genotoxic stress in vivo.
Eukaryotic cells possess several mechanisms to protect the integrity of their DNA against damage. These include cell-cycle checkpoints, DNA-repair pathways, and also a distinct DNA damage–tolerance system that allows recovery of replication forks blocked at sites of DNA damage. In both humans and yeast, lesion bypass and restart of DNA synthesis can occur through an error-prone pathway activated following mono-ubiquitination of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), a protein found at sites of replication, and recruitment of specialized translesion synthesis polymerases. In yeast, there is evidence for a second, error-free, pathway that requires modification of PCNA with non-proteolytic lysine 63-linked polyubiquitin (K63-polyUb) chains. Here we demonstrate that formation of K63-polyUb chains protects human cells against translesion synthesis–induced mutations by promoting recovery of blocked replication forks through an alternative error-free mechanism. Furthermore, we show that polyubiquitination of PCNA occurs in UV-irradiated human cells. Our findings indicate that K63-polyubiquitination guards against environmental carcinogenesis and contributes to genomic stability.
Genome instability is associated with increased cancer risk, and thus considerable effort has been put into unraveling the mechanisms underlying genome surveillance. Guarding the integrity of DNA are a number of DNA-repair and cell cycle–control systems. Insight into how these pathways become activated is crucially important to the understanding of carcinogenesis and in the development of cancer treatments. This study concerns a distinct pathway that promotes the tolerance of DNA damage during its replication phase. Prior attempts to investigate this pathway in human cells have been difficult due to extensive redundancy in the genes that carry out this process. Previous knowledge from lower organisms suggested the requirement for enzymes capable of constructing a chain of ubiquitin molecules linked in a specific manner. The authors used a novel approach to disrupt the formation of these ubiquitin chains in human cells and found that this caused a significant increase in mutations after exposure to UV light. Several lines of evidence implicate a family of error-prone enzymes, called translesion synthesis polymerases, in the formation of these mutations. Furthermore, they provide evidence suggesting that proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), a protein found at sites of replication, is the relevant target of these chains in human cells. These findings indicate that polyubiquitination guards against environmental carcinogenesis and contributes to genomic stability.
The integrity of DNA molecules is fundamental for maintaining life. The DNA repair proteins protect organisms against genetic damage, by removal of DNA lesions or helping to tolerate them. DNA repair genes are best known from the gamma-proteobacterium Escherichia coli, which is the most understood bacterial model. However, genome sequencing raises questions regarding uniformity and ubiquity of these DNA repair genes and pathways, reinforcing the need for identifying genes and proteins, which may respond to DNA damage in other bacteria.
In this study, we employed a bioinformatic approach, to analyse and describe the open reading frames potentially related to DNA repair from the genome of the alpha-proteobacterium Caulobacter crescentus. This was performed by comparison with known DNA repair related genes found in public databases. As expected, although C. crescentus and E. coli bacteria belong to separate phylogenetic groups, many of their DNA repair genes are very similar. However, some important DNA repair genes are absent in the C. crescentus genome and other interesting functionally related gene duplications are present, which do not occur in E. coli. These include DNA ligases, exonuclease III (xthA), endonuclease III (nth), O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (ada gene), photolyase-like genes, and uracil-DNA-glycosylases. On the other hand, the genes imuA and imuB, which are involved in DNA damage induced mutagenesis, have recently been described in C. crescentus, but are absent in E. coli. Particularly interesting are the potential atypical phylogeny of one of the photolyase genes in alpha-proteobacteria, indicating an origin by horizontal transfer, and the duplication of the Ada orthologs, which have diverse structural configurations, including one that is still unique for C. crescentus.
The absence and the presence of certain genes are discussed and predictions are made considering the particular aspects of the C. crescentus among other known DNA repair pathways. The observed differences enlarge what is known for DNA repair in the Bacterial world, and provide a useful framework for further experimental studies in this organism.
DNA repair is essential for routine monitoring and repair of damage imparted to our genetic material by exposure to endogenous and exogenous carcinogens, including reactive oxygen species, UV light, and chemicals such as those found in cigarette smoke. Without DNA repair pathways, the continual assault on our DNA would be highly mutagenic and the risk of cancer increased. Paradoxically, the same pathways that help prevent cancer development are detrimental to the efficacy of DNA-damaging cancer therapeutics such as cisplatin. Recent studies demonstrate the inverse relationship between DNA repair capacity and efficacy of platinum-based chemotherapeutics: increased DNA repair capacity leads to resistance, while decreased capacity leads to increased sensitivities. Cisplatin's cytotoxic effects are mediated by formation of intrastrand DNA crosslinks, which are predominantly repaired via the nucleotide excision repair (NER) pathway. In an effort to personalize the treatment of cancers based on DNA repair capacity, we developed an ELISA-based assay to measure NER activity accurately and reproducibly as a prognostic for platinum-based treatments. Here we present an overview of DNA repair and its link to cancer and therapeutics. We also present data demonstrating the ability to detect the proteins of the pre-incision complex within the NER pathway from cell and tissue extracts. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 14, 2465–2477.
Drugs that produce covalent interstrand cross-links (ICLs) in DNA remain central to the treatment of cancer, but the cell cycle checkpoints activated by ICLs have received little attention. We have used the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, to elucidate the checkpoint responses to the ICL-inducing anticancer drugs nitrogen mustard and mitomycin C. First we confirmed that the repair pathways acting on ICLs in this yeast are similar to those in the main organisms studied to date (Escherichia coli, budding yeast, and mammalian cells), principally nucleotide excision repair and homologous recombination. We also identified and disrupted the S. pombe homologue of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae SNM1/PSO2 ICL repair gene and found that this activity is required for normal resistance to cross-linking agents, but not other forms of DNA damage. Survival and biochemical analysis indicated a key role for the “checkpoint Rad” family acting through the chk1-dependent DNA damage checkpoint in the ICL response. Rhp9-dependent phosphorylation of Chk1 correlates with G2 arrest following ICL induction. In cells able to bypass the G2 block, a second-cycle (S-phase) arrest was observed. Only a transient activation of the Cds1 DNA replication checkpoint factor occurs following ICL formation in wild-type cells, but this is increased and persists in G2 arrest-deficient mutants. This likely reflects the fraction of cells escaping the G2 damage checkpoint and arresting in the subsequent S phase due to ICL replication blocks. Disruption of cds1 confers increased resistance to ICLs, suggesting that this second-cycle S-phase arrest might be a lethal event.
The development of resistances to conventional anticancer drugs compromises the efficacy of cancer treatments. In the case of DNA-targeting chemotherapeutic agents, cancer cells may display tolerance to the drug-induced DNA lesions and/or enhanced DNA repair. However, the role of DNA damage response (DDR) and DNA repair in this chemoresistance has yet to be defined. To provide insights in this challenging area, we analyzed the DNA repair signature of 7 cancer cell lines treated by 5 cytotoxic drugs using a recently developed multiplexed functional DNA repair assay. This comprehensive approach considered the complexity and redundancy of the different DNA repair pathways. Data was analyzed using clustering methods and statistical tests. This DNA repair profiling method defined relevant groups based on similarities between different drugs, thus providing information relating to their dominant mechanism of action at the DNA level. Similarly, similarities between different cell lines presumably identified identical functional DDR despite a high level of genetic heterogeneity between cell lines. Our strategy has shed new light on the contribution of specific repair sub-pathways to drug-induced cytotoxicity. Although further molecular characterisations are needed to fully unravel the mechanisms underlying our findings, our approach proved to be very promising to interrogate the complexity of the DNA repair response. Indeed, it could be used to predict the efficacy of a given drug and the chemosensitivity of individual patients, and thus to choose the right treatment for individualised cancer care.
Nucleotide excision repair and the long-patch mismatch repair systems correct abnormal DNA structures arising from DNA damage and replication errors, respectively. DNA synthesis past a damaged base (translesion replication) often causes misincorporation at the lesion site. In addition, mismatches are hot spots for DNA damage because of increased susceptibility of unpaired bases to chemical modification. We call such a DNA lesion, that is, a base damage superimposed on a mismatch, a compound lesion. To learn about the processing of compound lesions by human cells, synthetic compound lesions containing UV photoproducts or cisplatin 1,2-d(GpG) intrastrand cross-link and mismatch were tested for binding to the human mismatch recognition complex hMutS alpha and for excision by the human excision nuclease. No functional overlap between excision repair and mismatch repair was observed. The presence of a thymine dimer or a cisplatin diadduct in the context of a G-T mismatch reduced the affinity of hMutS alpha for the mismatch. In contrast, the damaged bases in these compound lesions were excised three- to fourfold faster than simple lesions by the human excision nuclease, regardless of the presence of hMutS alpha in the reaction. These results provide a new perspective on how excision repair, a cellular defense system for maintaining genomic integrity, can fix mutations under certain circumstances.
Fanconi Anemia (FA) is an inherited genomic instability disorder, caused by mutations in genes regulating replication-dependent removal of interstrand DNA crosslinks. The Fanconi Anemia pathway is thought to coordinate a complex mechanism that enlists elements of three classic DNA repair pathways, namely homologous recombination, nucleotide excision repair, and mutagenic translesion synthesis, in response to genotoxic insults. To this end, the Fanconi Anemia pathway employs a unique nuclear protein complex that ubiquitinates FANCD2 and FANCI, leading to formation of DNA repair structures. Lack of obvious enzymatic activities among most FA members has made it challenging to unravel its precise modus operandi. Here we review the current understanding of how the Fanconi Anemia pathway components participate in DNA repair and discuss the mechanisms that regulate this pathway to ensure timely, efficient, and correct restoration of chromosomal integrity.
DNA repair; interstrand crosslink; cancer; homologous recombination; translesion synthesis; protein ubiquitination