DNA polymerase beta mediates protection of mammalian cells against ganciclovir-induced cytotoxicity and DNA breakage.

Abstract:

The efficacy of suicide herpes simplex virus-1 thymidine kinase (HSVtk)/ganciclovir (GCV) gene therapy is often limited by intrinsic resistance of tumor cells. Here we show that repair of GCV incorporated in DNA is a factor involved in GCV resistance. A protective role of DNA repair in GCV-induced cell killing is supported by the following findings: (a) GCV-exposed Chinese hamster ovary-HSVtk cells exhibited both reduced repair of GCV and cloning efficiency in the presence of a specific polymerase beta (beta-pol) inhibitor, prunasin; (b) DNA beta-pol-deficient mouse fibroblasts were more sensitive to the cytotoxic, apoptosis-inducing, and genotoxic (DNA breakage and chromosomal aberration-inducing) effects of GCV as compared with wild-type and beta-pol-complemented cell lines; (c) methoxyamine, an inhibitor of beta-pol-dependent short-patch base excision repair, sensitized wild-type and complemented beta-pol cells to GCV, whereas it had no effect on the sensitivity of beta-pol-null cells to GCV. Because methoxyamine-mediated sensitization of beta-pol wild-type and beta-pol-complemented cells to GCV did not reach the level of null cells, we suggest that both beta-pol-dependent short- and long-patch base excision repair are involved in protection of cells to GCV. Some implications for HSVtk/GCV gene therapy are being discussed.

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