Albany 2013: Book of Abstracts

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Conversation 18
June 11-15 2013
©Adenine Press (2012)

Non-B DNA Structure-induced Genetic Instability in Mammalian Cells

Repetitive regions of genomic DNA can adopt a number of different structures, e.g., Z-DNA, and they are at risk for increased genetic instability and diseases development [As reviewed in (Zhao et al, 2010)]. We found Z-DNA structure is intrinsically mutagenic in cultured mammalian cells and in chromosome of transgenic mice (Wang et al, 2008). Our recent data showed a CG14 repeats, a model Z-DNA-forming sequence, could stall DNA polymerase progress in mammalian COS-7 cells, while an AT14 repeats that does not form Z-DNA conformation, did not affect replication. These data suggested a replication-dependent model of Z-DNA-induced mutagenesis in mammalian cells. In addition, we also found Z-DNA caused mutation and DNA breakage in the absence of DNA replication, and the spectrum of mutation from un-replicated system tended to have more large deletions than replicated DNA, suggested a replicated-independent pathway of Z-DNA-induced genetic instability (Wang, Christensen & Vasquez, 2004). Several DNA repair proteins were found to be involved in Z-DNA induced mutagenesis but in different ways: adding XPA protein back in otherwise deficient XP12RO cells increased Z-DNA-induced mutation frequency by ~50%; while expressing MSH2 protein in Hec59 cells reduced Z-DNA-induced mutation frequency by ~25%. Interestingly, cytosine methylation in CpG repeats induced higher frequencies of deletions and rearrangements, with a broader mutant size distribution than that found with unmethylated CpG repeats. We discovered that unusual structural features of the methylated CpG sequences precluded local nucleosome assembly, leading to genetic instability. Thus, non-B DNA-induced mutation appears a very complex process where DNA replication, repair and epigenetic modification are all involved.

This work was supported by an NIH/NCI grant to K.M.V. (CA093729).


    J. Zhao, A. Bacolla, G. Wang & K.M. Vasquez. (2010). Non-B DNA structure-induced genetic instability and evolution, Cell. Mol. Life Sci., 67, 43-62. G. Wang, L.A. Christensen & K.M. Vasquez. (2006). Z-DNA-forming sequences generate large-scale deletions in mammalian cells, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A., 103, 2677-2682.

    G. Wang, S. Carbajal, J. Vijg, J. DiGiovanni &, K.M. Vasquez. (2008) DNA structure-induced genomic instability in vivo, J. Natl. Cancer Inst., 100, 1815-1817.

Guliang Wang
Laura A. Christensen
Scott A. Spitser
Karen M. Vasquez

Division of pharmacology&Toxiology
The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78723

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