The MUTYH DNA-glycosylase is indirectly engaged in the repair of the miscoding 7,8-dihydro-8-oxo-2'-deoxyguanine (8-oxodG) lesion by removing adenine erroneously incorporated opposite the oxidized purine. Inherited biallelic mutations in the MUTYH gene are responsible for a recessive syndrome, the MUTYH-associated polyposis (MAP), which confers an increased risk of colorectal cancer. In this study, we functionally characterized the Q338H variant using recombinant proteins, as well as cell-based assays. This is a common variant among human colorectal cancer genes, which is generally considered, unrelated to the MAP phenotype but recently indicated as a low-penetrance allele. We demonstrate that the Q338H variant retains a wild-type DNA-glycosylase activity in vitro, but it shows a reduced ability to interact with the replication sensor RAD9:RAD1:HUS1 (9-1-1) complex. In comparison with Mutyh-/- mouse embryo fibroblasts expressing a wild-type MUTYH cDNA, the expression of Q338H variant was associated with increased levels of DNA 8-oxodG, hypersensitivity to oxidant and accumulation of the population in the S phase of the cell cycle. Thus, an inefficient interaction of MUTYH with the 9-1-1 complex leads to a repair-defective phenotype, indicating that a proper communication between MUTYH enzymatic function and the S phase checkpoint is needed for effective repair of oxidative damage.
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