DNA and Chromosomes
- Oxidative DNA damage contributes to aging and the pathogenesis of numerous human diseases including cancer. 8-hydroxyguanine (8-oxoG) is the major product of oxidative DNA lesions. Although OGG1-mediated base excision repair is the primary mechanism for 8-oxoG removal, DNA mismatch repair has also been implicated in processing oxidative DNA damage. However, the mechanism of the latter is not fully understood. Here, we treated human cells defective in various 8-oxoG repair factors with H2O2 and performed biochemical, live cell imaging, and chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing analyses to determine their response to the treatment.
- Huntington's disease (HD), a neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive dementia, psychiatric problems, and chorea, is known to be caused by CAG repeat expansions in the HD gene HTT. However, the mechanism of this pathology is not fully understood. The translesion DNA polymerase θ (Polθ) carries a large insertion sequence in its catalytic domain, which has been shown to allow DNA loop-outs in the primer strand. As a result of high levels of oxidative DNA damage in neural cells and Polθ's subsequent involvement in base excision repair of oxidative DNA damage, we hypothesized that Polθ contributes to CAG repeat expansion while repairing oxidative damage within HTT.
- 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).
- 3′ repair exonuclease 1 (TREX1) is a known DNA exonuclease involved in autoimmune disorders and the antiviral response. In this work, we show that TREX1 is also a RNA exonuclease. Purified TREX1 displays robust exoribonuclease activity that degrades single-stranded, but not double-stranded, RNA. TREX1-D200N, an Aicardi-Goutieres syndrome disease-causing mutant, is defective in degrading RNA. TREX1 activity is strongly inhibited by a stretch of pyrimidine residues as is a bacterial homolog, RNase T.