Drosophila oogenesis: versatile spn doctors.
Recent work on Drosophila oogenesis has uncovered connections between cell-cycle checkpoints and pattern formation. Genes of the spindle class, which encode double-strand break repair enzymes and RNA helicases, affect oocyte polarity and the decision whether to differentiate as an oocyte or a nurse cell. (+info
Accelerated accumulation of somatic mutations in mice deficient in the nucleotide excision repair gene XPA.
Inheritable mutations in nucleotide excision repair (NER) genes cause cancer-prone human disorders, such as xeroderma pigmentosum, which are also characterized by symptoms of accelerated ageing. To study the impact of NER deficiency on mutation accumulation in vivo, mutant frequencies have been determined in liver and brain of 2-16 month old NER deficient XPA-/-, lacZ hybrid mice. While mutant frequencies in liver of 2-month old XPA-/-, lacZ mice were comparable to XPA+/-, lacZ and the lacZ parental strain animals, by 4 months of age mutant frequencies in the XPA-deficient mice were significantly increased by a factor of two and increased further until the age of 16 months. In brain, mutant frequencies were not found to increase with age. These results show that a deficiency in the NER gene XPA causes an accelerated accumulation of somatic mutations in liver but not in brain. This is in keeping with a higher incidence of spontaneous liver tumors reported earlier for XPA-/- mice after about 15 months of age. (+info
The Saccharomyces cerevisiae ETH1 gene, an inducible homolog of exonuclease III that provides resistance to DNA-damaging agents and limits spontaneous mutagenesis.
The recently sequenced Saccharomyces cerevisiae genome was searched for a gene with homology to the gene encoding the major human AP endonuclease, a component of the highly conserved DNA base excision repair pathway. An open reading frame was found to encode a putative protein (34% identical to the Schizosaccharomyces pombe eth1(+) [open reading frame SPBC3D6.10] gene product) with a 347-residue segment homologous to the exonuclease III family of AP endonucleases. Synthesis of mRNA from ETH1 in wild-type cells was induced sixfold relative to that in untreated cells after exposure to the alkylating agent methyl methanesulfonate (MMS). To investigate the function of ETH1, deletions of the open reading frame were made in a wild-type strain and a strain deficient in the known yeast AP endonuclease encoded by APN1. eth1 strains were not more sensitive to killing by MMS, hydrogen peroxide, or phleomycin D1, whereas apn1 strains were approximately 3-fold more sensitive to MMS and approximately 10-fold more sensitive to hydrogen peroxide than was the wild type. Double-mutant strains (apn1 eth1) were approximately 15-fold more sensitive to MMS and approximately 2- to 3-fold more sensitive to hydrogen peroxide and phleomycin D1 than were apn1 strains. Elimination of ETH1 in apn1 strains also increased spontaneous mutation rates 9- or 31-fold compared to the wild type as determined by reversion to adenine or lysine prototrophy, respectively. Transformation of apn1 eth1 cells with an expression vector containing ETH1 reversed the hypersensitivity to MMS and limited the rate of spontaneous mutagenesis. Expression of ETH1 in a dut-1 xthA3 Escherichia coli strain demonstrated that the gene product functionally complements the missing AP endonuclease activity. Thus, in apn1 cells where the major AP endonuclease activity is missing, ETH1 offers an alternate capacity for repair of spontaneous or induced damage to DNA that is normally repaired by Apn1 protein. (+info
The 3'-->5' exonucleases of DNA polymerases delta and epsilon and the 5'-->3' exonuclease Exo1 have major roles in postreplication mutation avoidance in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Replication fidelity is controlled by DNA polymerase proofreading and postreplication mismatch repair. We have genetically characterized the roles of the 5'-->3' Exo1 and the 3'-->5' DNA polymerase exonucleases in mismatch repair in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae by using various genetic backgrounds and highly sensitive mutation detection systems that are based on long and short homonucleotide runs. Genetic interactions were examined among DNA polymerase epsilon (pol2-4) and delta (pol3-01) mutants defective in 3'-->5' proofreading exonuclease, mutants defective in the 5'-->3' exonuclease Exo1, and mismatch repair mutants (msh2, msh3, or msh6). These three exonucleases play an important role in mutation avoidance. Surprisingly, the mutation rate in an exo1 pol3-01 mutant was comparable to that in an msh2 pol3-01 mutant, suggesting that they participate directly in postreplication mismatch repair as well as in other DNA metabolic processes. (+info
Postnatal growth failure, short life span, and early onset of cellular senescence and subsequent immortalization in mice lacking the xeroderma pigmentosum group G gene.
The xeroderma pigmentosum group G (XP-G) gene (XPG) encodes a structure-specific DNA endonuclease that functions in nucleotide excision repair (NER). XP-G patients show various symptoms, ranging from mild cutaneous abnormalities to severe dermatological impairments. In some cases, patients exhibit growth failure and life-shortening and neurological dysfunctions, which are characteristics of Cockayne syndrome (CS). The known XPG protein function as the 3' nuclease in NER, however, cannot explain the development of CS in certain XP-G patients. To gain an insight into the functions of the XPG protein, we have generated and examined mice lacking xpg (the mouse counterpart of the human XPG gene) alleles. The xpg-deficient mice exhibited postnatal growth failure and underwent premature death. Since XPA-deficient mice, which are totally defective in NER, do not show such symptoms, our data indicate that XPG performs an additional function(s) besides its role in NER. Our in vitro studies showed that primary embryonic fibroblasts isolated from the xpg-deficient mice underwent premature senescence and exhibited the early onset of immortalization and accumulation of p53. (+info
Analysis of genomic integrity and p53-dependent G1 checkpoint in telomerase-induced extended-life-span human fibroblasts.
Life span determination in normal human cells may be regulated by nucleoprotein structures called telomeres, the physical ends of eukaryotic chromosomes. Telomeres have been shown to be essential for chromosome stability and function and to shorten with each cell division in normal human cells in culture and with age in vivo. Reversal of telomere shortening by the forced expression of telomerase in normal cells has been shown to elongate telomeres and extend the replicative life span (H. Vaziri and S. Benchimol, Curr. Biol. 8:279-282, 1998; A. G. Bodnar et al., Science 279:349-352, 1998). Extension of the life span as a consequence of the functional inactivation of p53 is frequently associated with loss of genomic stability. Analysis of telomerase-induced extended-life-span fibroblast (TIELF) cells by G banding and spectral karyotyping indicated that forced extension of the life span by telomerase led to the transient formation of aberrant structures, which were subsequently resolved in higher passages. However, the p53-dependent G1 checkpoint was intact as assessed by functional activation of p53 protein in response to ionizing radiation and subsequent p53-mediated induction of p21(Waf1/Cip1/Sdi1). TIELF cells were not tumorigenic and had a normal DNA strand break rejoining activity and normal radiosensitivity in response to ionizing radiation. (+info
Phosphorylation of the DNA repair protein APE/REF-1 by CKII affects redox regulation of AP-1.
The DNA repair protein apurinic endonuclease (APE/Ref-1) exerts several physiological functions such as cleavage of apurinic/apyrimidinic sites and redox regulation of the transcription factor AP-1, whose activation is part of the cellular response to DNA damaging treatments. Here we demonstrate that APE/Ref-1 is phosphorylated by casein kinase II (CKII). This was shown for both the recombinant APE/Ref-1 protein (Km=0.55 mM) and for APE/Ref-1 expressed in COS cells. Phosphorylation of APE/Ref-1 did not alter the repair activity of the enzyme, whereas it stimulated its redox capability towards AP-1, thus promoting DNA binding activity of AP-1. Inhibition of CKII mediated phosphorylation of APE/Ref-1 blocked mutagen-stimulated increase in AP-1 binding. It also abrogated the induction of c-Jun protein and rendered cells more sensitive to induced DNA damage. Thus, phosphorylation of APE/Ref-1 appears to be involved in regulating the different physiological activities of the enzyme. CKII mediated phosphorylation of APE/Ref-1 and concomitant increase in AP-1 binding activity appears to be a novel mechanism of cellular stress response, forcing transcription of AP-1 target gene(s) the product(s) of which may exert protective function. (+info
Differential regulation of p21waf-1/cip-1 and Mdm2 by etoposide: etoposide inhibits the p53-Mdm2 autoregulatory feedback loop.
The Mdm2 protein is frequently overexpressed in human non-seminomatous germ cell tumours and transitional carcinoma of the bladder where it may contribute to tolerance of wtp53. Mdm2 forms an autoregulatory feedback loop with p53; the Mdm2 gene is responsive to transactivation by p53 and once synthesized the Mdm2 protein terminates the p53 response. We show here that the topoisomerase poison etoposide, like ultra violet irradiation, inhibits Mdm2 synthesis. Cytotoxic concentrations of etoposide (IC90 for > 3 h) result in inhibition of Mdm2 induction at both the RNA and protein level. Rapid apoptosis ensues. Global transcription is not inhibited: p21waf-1/cip1 and GADD45 expression increase in a dose dependent manner. Inhibition of Mdm2 synthesis depends on the continuous presence of etoposide, suggesting the DNA damage may prevent transcription. Downregulation of Mdm2 transcript occurs in cells expressing HPV16-E6 suggesting that inhibition of Mdm2 transcription is p53-independent. When cells are -treated with a pulse (1 h) of etoposide and reincubated in drug free medium, Mdm2 synthesis commences immediately after damage is repaired (3 h) and the p53 response is attenuated. Induction of apoptosis and loss of clonogenicity are 3-5-fold lower under pulse treatment conditions. This is the first observation of inhibition of Mdm2 transcription following treatment with topoisomerase (topo II) poisons, a feature that may be useful in tumour types where p53 is tolerated by overexpression of Mdm2. (+info