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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Assessing the metabolic function of the MutT 8-oxodeoxyguanosine triphosphatase in Escherichia coli by nucleotide pool analysis.

In Escherichia coli the mutT gene is one of several that acts to minimize mutagenesis by reactive oxygen species. The bacterial MutT protein and its mammalian homolog have been shown to catalyze in vitro the hydrolysis of the oxidized deoxyguanosine nucleotide, 8-oxo-dGTP, to its corresponding monophosphate. Thus, the protein is thought to "sanitize" the nucleotide pool by ridding the cell of a nucleotide whose incorporation into DNA would be intensely mutagenic. However, because others have shown mutT mutations to be mutagenic under some conditions of anaerobic growth, and have shown 8-oxo-dGTP to be a poor DNA polymerase substrate, there is reason to question this model. We have devised an assay for 8-oxo-dGTP in bacterial extracts. Using this assay, which involves reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography and electrochemical detection, we have been unable to detect 8-oxo-dGTP in extracts of three different mutT mutants of E. coli, even after growth of the bacteria in the presence of hydrogen peroxide. Our estimated upper limit for 8-oxo-dGTP content of these bacteria is about 200 molecules/cell, corresponding to a concentration of about 0.34 microm. When 8-oxo-dGTP was added at 0.34 microm to an in vitro DNA replication system primed with a DNA template that permits scoring of replication errors and with the four normal dNTPs at their estimated intracellular concentrations, there was no detectable effect upon the frequency of replication errors. These findings lead us to question the conclusion that 8-oxo-dGTP is the most significant physiological substrate for the MutT protein.[1]


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