DNA and Chromosomes
- DNA mismatch repair (MMR) maintains genome stability primarily by correcting replication errors. MMR deficiency can lead to cancer development and bolsters cancer cell resistance to chemotherapy. However, recent studies have shown that checkpoint blockade therapy is effective in MMR-deficient cancers, thus the ability to identify cancer etiology would greatly benefit cancer treatment. MutS homolog 2 (MSH2) is an obligate subunit of mismatch recognition proteins MutSα (MSH2-MSH6) and MutSβ (MSH2-MSH3).
- Proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and its posttranslational modifications regulate DNA metabolic reactions, including DNA replication and repair, at replication forks. PCNA phosphorylation at Tyr-211 (PCNA-Y211p) inhibits DNA mismatch repair and induces misincorporation during DNA synthesis. Here, we describe an unexpected role of PCNA-Y211p in cancer promotion and development. Cells expressing phosphorylation-mimicking PCNA, PCNA-Y211D, show elevated hallmarks specific to the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), including the up-regulation of the EMT-promoting factor Snail and the down-regulation of EMT-inhibitory factors E-cadherin and GSK3β.
- Histone H3 trimethylation at lysine 36 (H3K36me3) is an important histone mark involved in both transcription elongation and DNA mismatch repair (MMR). It is known that H3K36me3 recruits the mismatch-recognition protein MutSα to replicating chromatin via its physical interaction with MutSα's PWWP domain, but the exact role of H3K36me3 in transcription is undefined. Using ChIP combined with whole-genome DNA sequencing analysis, we demonstrate here that H3K36me3, together with MutSα, is involved in protecting against mutation, preferentially in actively transcribed genomic regions.
- Both genotoxic and non-genotoxic chemicals can act as carcinogens. However, while genotoxic compounds lead directly to mutations that promote unregulated cell growth, the mechanism by which non-genotoxic carcinogens lead to cellular transformation is poorly understood. Using a model non-genotoxic carcinogen, arsenic, we show here that exposure to arsenic inhibits mismatch repair (MMR) in human cells, possibly through its ability to stimulate epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-dependent tyrosine phosphorylation of proliferating cellular nuclear antigen (PCNA).