Nonmethylated transposable elements and methylated genes in a chordate genome.
The genome of the invertebrate chordate Ciona intestinalis was found to be a stable mosaic of methylated and nonmethylated domains. Multiple copies of an apparently active long terminal repeat retrotransposon and a long interspersed element are nonmethylated and a large fraction of abundant short interspersed elements are also methylation free. Genes, by contrast, are predominantly methylated. These data are incompatible with the genome defense model, which proposes that DNA methylation in animals is primarily targeted to endogenous transposable elements. Cytosine methylation in this urochordate may be preferentially directed to genes. (+info
Base pairing of anhydrohexitol nucleosides with 2,6-diaminopurine, 5-methylcytosine and uracil asbase moiety.
Hexitol nucleic acids (HNAs) with modified bases (5-methylcytosine, 2,6-diaminopurine or uracil) were synthesized. The introduction of the 5-methylcytosine base demonstrates that N -benzoylated 5-methylcytosyl-hexitol occurs as the imino tautomer. The base pairing systems (G:CMe, U:D, T:D and U:A) obey Watson-Crick rules. Substituting hT for hU, hCMefor hC and hD for hA generally leads to increased duplex stability. In a single case, replacement of hC by hCMedid not result in duplex stabilization. This sequence-specific effect could be explained by the geometry of the model duplex used for carrying out the thermal stability study. Generally, polypurine HNA sequences give more stable duplexes with their RNA complement than polypyrimidine HNA sequences. This observation supports the hypothesis that, besides changes in stacking pattern, the difference in conformational stress between purine and pyrimidine nucleosides may contribute to duplex stability. Introduction of hCMeand hD in HNA sequences further increases the potential of HNA to function as a steric blocking agent. (+info
Smoothing of the thermal stability of DNA duplexes by using modified nucleosides and chaotropic agents.
The effect of alkyltrimethylammonium ions on the thermostability of natural and modified DNA duplexes has been investigated. We have shown that the use of tetramethylammonium ions TMA+along with the chemical modification of duplexes allow the fine adjustment of T m and the possibility of obtaining several duplex systems with varied isostabilizedtemperatures, some of which show greater stability than those of natural DNA. This approach could be very useful for DNA sequencing by hybridization. (+info
Comparative study of the anti-human cytomegalovirus activities and toxicities of a tetrahydrofuran phosphonate analogue of guanosine and cidofovir.
Cidofovir is the first nucleoside monophosphate analogue currently being used for the treatment of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) retinitis in individuals with AIDS. Unfortunately, the period of therapy with the use of this compound may be limited due to the possible emergence of serious irreversible nephrotoxic effects. New drugs with improved toxicity profiles are needed. The goal of this study was to investigate the anticytomegaloviral properties and drug-induced toxicity of a novel phosphonate analogue, namely, (-)-2-(R)-dihydroxyphosphinoyl-5-(S)-(guanin-9'-yl-methyl) tetrahydrofuran (compound 1), in comparison with those of cidofovir. The inhibitory activities of both compounds on HCMV propagation in vitro were similar against the AD 169 and Towne strains, with 50% inhibitory concentrations ranging from 0.02 to 0.17 microgram/ml for cidofovir and < 0.05 to 0.09 microgram/ml for compound 1. A clinical HCMV isolate that was resistant to ganciclovir and that had a known mutation within the UL54 DNA polymerase gene and a cidofovir-resistant laboratory strain derived from strain AD 169 remained sensitive to compound 1, whereas their susceptibilities to ganciclovir and cidofovir were reduced by 33- and 10-fold, respectively. Both compound 1 and cidofovir exhibited equal potencies in an experimentally induced murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) infection in mice, with a prevention or prolongation of mean day to death at dosages of 1.0, 3.2, and 10.0 mg/kg of body weight/day. In cytotoxicity experiments, compound 1 was found to be generally more toxic than cidofovir in cell lines Hs68, HFF, and 3T3-L1 (which are permissive for HCMV or MCMV replication) but less toxic than cidofovir in MRC-5 cells (which are permissive for HCMV replication). Drug-induced toxic side effects were noticed for both compounds in rats and guinea pigs in a 5-day repeated-dose study. In guinea pigs, a greater weight loss was noticed with cidofovir than with compound 1 at dosages of 3.0 and 10.0 mg/kg/day. An opposite effect was detected in rats, which were treated with the compounds at relatively high dosages (up to 100 mg/kg/day). Compound 1 and cidofovir were nephrotoxic in both rats and guinea pigs, with the epithelium lining the proximal convoluted tubules in the renal cortex being the primary target site. The incidence and the severity of the lesions were found to be dose dependent. The lesions observed were characterized by cytoplasm degeneration and nuclear modifications such as karyomegaly, the presence of pseudoinclusions, apoptosis, and degenerative changes. In the guinea pig model, a greater incidence and severity of lesions were observed for cidofovir than for compound 1 (P < 0.001) with a drug regimen of 10 mg/kg/day. (+info
Hprt mutant frequency and molecular analysis of Hprt mutations in Fischer 344 rats treated with thiotepa.
Thiotepa is a bifunctional alkylating anticancer drug that is a rodent carcinogen and a suspected human carcinogen. In order to determine the sensitivity of mutant induction in the Hprt lymphocyte assay for detecting tumorigenic doses of thiotepa, Fischer 344 rats were treated for 4 weeks with thiotepa using a procedure adapted from a carcinogenesis protocol. At various times after beginning the treatment regimen, rats were killed and the lymphocyte Hprt assay was performed on splenic lymphocytes isolated from the animals. The 6-thioguanine-resistant T lymphocyte mutant frequency increased with time during the period of thiotepa exposure and declined slightly thereafter. Significant dose-dependent increases in mutant frequency were found using concentrations of thiotepa that eventually result in lymphoproliferative tumors. Hprt mRNA from mutant lymphocytes was reverse transcribed to cDNA, amplified by PCR and examined for mutations by DNA sequencing. This analysis indicated that the major type of point mutation was G:C-->T:A transversion and that 33% of the mutants contained simple or complex frameshifts. Also, a multiplex PCR performed on DNA from mutant clones that were expanded in vitro indicated that 34% of the clones had deletions in the Hprt gene. These results indicate that the induction of lymphocyte Hprt mutants is a sensitive biomarker for the carcinogenicity of thiotepa and that the types of mutations found in the lymphocyte Hprt gene reflect the kinds of DNA damage produced by thiotepa. (+info
Identification of a C/G polymorphism in the promoter region of the BRCA1 gene and its use as a marker for rapid detection of promoter deletions.
Reduced expression of BRCA1 has been implicated in sporadic breast cancer, although the mechanisms underlying this phenomenon remain unclear. To determine whether regulatory mutations could account for the reduced expression, we screened the promoter region by sequencing in 20 patients with sporadic disease. No mutations were detected; however, a new polymorphism consisting of a C-to-G base change within the beta-promoter was identified, with the frequency of the G allele being 0.34. Close to complete linkage disequilibrium was found between this marker and the Pro871 Leu polymorphism, situated in exon 11, which has previously been shown not to be associated with breast or ovarian cancer. This indicates that the C/G polymorphism is also unlikely to play a role in either disease. However, the strength of linkage disequilibrium between these markers permitted their use for rapid screening for genomic deletions within BRCA1. A series of 214 cases with familial breast cancer were analysed using this approach; 88/214 were heterozygous for the promoter polymorphism, thereby excluding a deletion in this region. Among the remaining patients, one hemizygous case reflecting a promoter deletion was successfully identified. Therefore, this study indicates that deletions within the beta-promoter region of BRCA1 are an uncommon event in familial breast cancer. Furthermore, it suggests that mutations within the BRCA1 promoter are unlikely to account for the reported decreased expression of BRCA1 in sporadic disease. (+info
In vivo nuclease hypersensitivity studies reveal multiple sites of parental origin-dependent differential chromatin conformation in the 150 kb SNRPN transcription unit.
Human chromosome region 15q11-q13 contains a cluster of oppositely imprinted genes. Loss of the paternal or the maternal alleles by deletion of the region or by uniparental disomy 15 results in Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) or Angelman syndrome (AS), respectively. Hence, the two phenotypically distinct neurodevelopmental disorders are caused by the lack of products of imprinted genes. Subsets of PWS and AS patients exhibit 'imprinting mutations', such as small microdeletions within the 5' region of the small nuclear ribonucleoprotein polypeptide N ( SNRPN ) transcription unit which affect the transcriptional activity and methylation status of distant imprinted genes throughout 15q11-q13 in cis. To elucidate the mechanism of these long-range effects, we have analyzed the chromatin structure of the 150 kb SNRPN transcription unit for DNase I- and Msp I-hypersensitive sites. By using an in vivo approach on lymphoblastoid cell lines from PWS and AS individuals, we discovered that the SNRPN exon 1 is flanked by prominent hypersensitive sites on the paternal allele, but is completely inaccessible to nucleases on the maternal allele. In contrast, we identified several regions of increased nuclease hypersensitivity on the maternal allele, one of which coincides with the AS minimal microdeletion region and another lies in intron 1 immediately downstream of the paternal-specific hypersensitive sites. At several sites, parental origin-specific nuclease hypersensitivity was found to be correlated with hypermethylation on the allele contributed by the other parent. The differential parental origin-dependent chromatin conformations might govern access of regulatory protein complexes and/or RNAs which could mediate interaction of the region with other genes. (+info
Induction of reversible complexes between eukaryotic DNA topoisomerase I and DNA-containing oxidative base damages. 7, 8-dihydro-8-oxoguanine and 5-hydroxycytosine.
We recently showed that abasic sites, uracil mismatches, nicks, and gaps can trap DNA topoisomerase I (top1) when these lesions are introduced in the vicinity of a top1 cleavage site (Pourquier, P., Ueng, L.-M., Kohlhagen, G., Mazumder, A., Gupta, M., Kohn, K. W., and Pommier, Y. (1997) J. Biol. Chem. 272, 7792-7796; Pourquier, P., Pilon, A. A., Kohlhagen, G., Mazumder, A., Sharma, A., and Pommier, Y. (1997) J. Biol. Chem. 26441-26447). In this study, we investigated the effects on top1 of an abundant base damage generated by various oxidative stresses: 7,8-dihydro-8-oxoguanine (8-oxoG). Using purified eukaryotic top1 and oligonucleotides containing the 8-oxoG modification, we found a 3-7-fold increase in top1-mediated DNA cleavage when 8-oxoG was present at the +1 or +2 position relative to the cleavage site. Another oxidative lesion, 5-hydroxycytosine, also enhanced top1 cleavage by 2-fold when incorporated at the +1 position of the scissile strand. 8-oxoG at the +1 position enhanced noncovalent top1 DNA binding and had no detectable effect on DNA religation or on the incision step. top1 trapping by 8-oxoG was markedly enhanced when asparagine adjacent to the catalytic tyrosine was mutated to histidine, suggesting a direct interaction between this residue and the DNA major groove immediately downstream from the top1 cleavage site. Altogether, these results demonstrate that oxidative base lesions can increase top1 binding to DNA and induce top1 cleavage complexes. (+info