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

Mismatch repair proteins are activators of toxic responses to chromium-DNA damage.

Chromium(VI) is a toxic and carcinogenic metal that causes the formation of DNA phosphate-based adducts. Cr-DNA adducts are genotoxic in human cells, although they do not block replication in vitro. Here, we report that induction of cytotoxicity in Cr(VI)-treated human colon cells and mouse embryonic fibroblasts requires the presence of all major mismatch repair (MMR) proteins. Cr-DNA adducts lost their ability to block replication of Cr-modified plasmids in human colon cells lacking MLH1 protein. The presence of functional mismatch repair caused induction of p53-independent apoptosis associated with activation of caspases 2 and 7. Processing of Cr-DNA damage by mismatch repair resulted in the extensive formation of gamma-H2AX foci in G(2) phase, indicating generation of double-stranded breaks as secondary toxic lesions. Induction of gamma-H2AX foci was observed at 6 to 12 h postexposure, which was followed by activation of apoptosis in the absence of significant G(2) arrest. Our results demonstrate that mismatch repair system triggers toxic responses to Cr-DNA backbone modifications through stress mechanisms that are significantly different from those for other forms of DNA damage. Selection for Cr(VI) resistant, MMR-deficient cells may explain the very high frequency of lung cancers with microsatellite instability among chromate workers.[1]


  1. Mismatch repair proteins are activators of toxic responses to chromium-DNA damage. Peterson-Roth, E., Reynolds, M., Quievryn, G., Zhitkovich, A. Mol. Cell. Biol. (2005) [Pubmed]
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