Base excision repair intermediates induce p53-independent cytotoxic and genotoxic responses.

Abstract:

DNA alkylation damage is primarily repaired by the base excision repair (BER) machinery in mammalian cells. In repair of the N-alkylated purine base lesion, for example, alkyl adenine DNA glycosylase (Aag) recognizes and removes the base, and DNA polymerase beta (beta-pol) contributes the gap tailoring and DNA synthesis steps. It is the loss of beta-pol-mediated 5'-deoxyribose phosphate removal that renders mouse fibroblasts alkylation-hypersensitive. Here we report that the hypersensitivity of beta-pol-deficient cells after methyl methanesulfonate-induced alkylation damage is wholly dependent upon glycosylase-mediated initiation of repair, indicating that alkylated base lesions themselves are tolerated in these cells and demonstrate that beta-pol protects against accumulation of toxic BER intermediates. Further, we find that these intermediates are initially tolerated in vivo by a second repair pathway, homologous recombination, inducing an increase in sister chromatid exchange events. If left unresolved, these BER intermediates trigger a rapid block in DNA synthesis and cytotoxicity. Surprisingly, both the cytotoxic and genotoxic signals are independent of both the p53 response and mismatch DNA repair pathways, demonstrating that p53 is not required for a functional BER pathway, that the observed damage response is not part of the p53 response network, and that the BER intermediate-induced cytotoxic and genotoxic effects are distinct from the mechanism engaged in response to mismatch repair signaling. These studies demonstrate that, although base damage is repaired by the BER pathway, incomplete BER intermediates are shuttled into the homologous recombination pathway, suggesting possible coordination between BER and the recombination machinery.

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