DNA and Chromosomes
- Liquid–liquid phase separation (LLPS) of biomolecules drives the formation of subcellular compartments with distinct physicochemical properties. These compartments, free of lipid bilayers and therefore called membraneless organelles, include nucleoli, centrosomes, heterochromatin, and centromeres. These have emerged as a new paradigm to account for subcellular organization and cell fate decisions. Here we summarize recent studies linking LLPS to mitotic spindle, heterochromatin, and centromere assembly and their plasticity controls in the context of the cell division cycle, highlighting a functional role for phase behavior and material properties of proteins assembled onto heterochromatin, centromeres, and central spindles via LLPS.
- O6-alkyl-2′-deoxyguanosine (O6-alkyl-dG) lesions are among the most mutagenic and prevalent alkylated DNA lesions that are associated with cancer initiation and progression. In this study, using a shuttle vector–based strand-specific PCR-competitive replication and adduct bypass assay in conjunction with tandem MS for product identification, we systematically assessed the repair and replicative bypass of a series of O6-alkyl-dG lesions, with the alkyl group being a Me, Et, nPr, iPr, nBu, iBu, or sBu, in several human cell lines.
- Classical DNA and RNA polymerase (pol) enzymes have defined roles with their respective substrates, but several pols have been found to have multiple functions. We reported previously that purified human DNA pol η (hpol η) can incorporate both deoxyribonucleoside triphosphates (dNTPs) and ribonucleoside triphosphates (rNTPs) and can use both DNA and RNA as substrates. X-ray crystal structures revealed that two pol η residues, Phe-18 and Tyr-92, behave as steric gates to influence sugar selectivity.
- Endogenous metabolism, environmental exposure, and cancer chemotherapy can lead to alkylation of DNA. It has been well documented that, among the different DNA alkylation products, minor-groove O2-alkylthymidine (O2-alkyldT) lesions are inefficiently repaired. In the present study, we examined how seven O2-alkyldT lesions, with the alkyl group being a Me, Et, nPr, iPr, nBu, iBu, or sBu, are recognized by the DNA replication machinery in human cells. We found that the replication bypass efficiencies of these lesions decrease with increasing length of the alkyl chain, and that these lesions induce substantial frequencies of T→A and T→G mutations.
- The tobacco-derived nitrosamines 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK) and N′-nitrosonornicotine (NNN) are known human carcinogens. Following metabolic activation, NNK and NNN can induce a number of DNA lesions, including several 4-(3-pyridyl)-4-oxobut-1-yl (POB) adducts. However, it remains unclear to what extent these lesions affect the efficiency and accuracy of DNA replication and how their replicative bypass is influenced by translesion synthesis (TLS) DNA polymerases. In this study, we investigated the effects of three stable POB DNA adducts (O2-POB-dT, O4-POB-dT, and O6-POB-dG) on the efficiency and fidelity of DNA replication in HEK293T human cells.
- Post-translational modifications of histone proteins regulate numerous cellular processes. Among these modifications, trimethylation of lysine 36 in histone H3 (H3K36me3) and acetylation of lysine 16 in histone H4 (H4K16ac) have important roles in transcriptional regulation and DNA damage response signaling. However, whether these two epigenetic histone marks are mechanistically linked remains unclear. Here we discovered a new pathway through which H3K36me3 stimulates H4K16ac upon DNA double-strand break (DSB) induction in human cells.