Lynch syndrome (LS) is caused by germline mutations in DNA mismatch repair (MMR) genes. MMR recognizes and repairs DNA mismatches and small insertion/deletion loops. Carriers of MMR gene variants have a high risk of developing colorectal, endometrial, ovarian, and other extracolonic carcinomas. We report on an ovarian cancer patient who carries a germline MSH2 c.1A>C variant which alters the translation initiation codon. Mutations affecting the MSH2 start codon have been described previously for LS-related malignancies. However, the patients often lack a clear family history indicative of LS and their tumors often fail to display microsatellite instability, a hallmark feature of LS. Therefore, the pathogenicity of start codon variants remains undefined. Loss of the MSH2 start codon has been predicted to result in a truncated protein translated from a downstream in-frame AUG that would lack the first 25 amino acids. We therefore purified recombinant MSH2(NΔ25)-MSH6 and MSH2(NΔ25)-MSH3 to examine their DNA lesion recognition and adenosine nucleotide processing functions in vitro. We found that the MSH2(NΔ25) mutant confers distinct biochemical defects on MSH2-MSH6, but does not have a significant effect on MSH2-MSH3. We confirmed that expression of the MSH2 c.1A>C cDNA results in the production of multiple protein products in human cells that may include the truncated and full-length forms of MSH2. An in vivo MMR assay revealed a slight reduction in MMR efficiency in these cells. These data suggest that mutation of the MSH2 initiation codon, while not a strong, high-risk disease allele, may have a moderate impact on disease phenotype.
"In addition to heterodimer formation, in vitro assays have been used to test the effects of VUS on discrete biochemical steps in the MMR molecular mechanism. Our group has studied recombinant MSH2-MSH6 carrying single amino acid alterations in MSH2 or MSH6 for their ability to perform several biochemical functions including mismatch binding and ATP hydrolysis [28-30]. As MSH2-MSH6 must bind and hydrolyze ATP to execute MMR, a variant that is deficient in these activities is very likely pathogenic. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: With the discovery that the hereditary cancer susceptibility disease Lynch syndrome (LS) is caused by deleterious germline mutations in the DNA mismatch repair (MMR) genes nearly 20 years ago, genetic testing can now be used to diagnose this disorder in patients. A definitive diagnosis of LS can direct how clinicians manage the disease as well as prevent future cancers for the patient and their families. A challenge emerges, however, when a germline missense variant is identified in a MMR gene in a suspected LS patient. The significance of a single amino acid change in these large repair proteins is not immediately obvious resulting in them being designated variants of uncertain significance (VUS). One important strategy for resolving this uncertainty is to determine whether the variant results in a non-functional protein. The ability to reconstitute the MMR reaction in vitro has provided an important experimental tool for studying the functional consequences of VUS. However, beyond this repair assay, a number of other experimental methods have been developed that allow us to test the effect of a VUS on discrete biochemical steps or other aspects of MMR function. Here, we describe some of these assays along with the challenges of using such assays to determine the functional consequences of MMR VUS which, in turn, can provide valuable insight into their clinical significance. With increased gene sequencing in patients, the number of identified VUS has expanded dramatically exacerbating this problem for clinicians. However, basic science research laboratories around the world continue to expand our knowledge of the overall MMR molecular mechanism providing new opportunities to understand the functional significance, and therefore pathogenic significance, of VUS.
Hereditary Cancer in Clinical Practice 07/2012; 10(1):9. DOI:10.1186/1897-4287-10-9 · 1.47 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) is a double-stranded DNA virus that replicates in the nucleus of its human host cell and is known to interact with many cellular DNA repair proteins. In this study, we examined the role of cellular mismatch repair (MMR) proteins in the virus life cycle. Both MSH2 and MLH1 are required for efficient replication of HSV-1 in normal human cells and are localized to viral replication compartments. In addition, a previously reported interaction between MSH6 and ICP8 was confirmed by coimmunoprecipitation and extended to show that UL12 is also present in this complex. We also report for the first time that MLH1 associates with ND10 nuclear bodies and that like other ND10 proteins, MLH1 is recruited to the incoming genome. Knockdown of MLH1 inhibits immediate-early viral gene expression. MSH2, on the other hand, which is generally thought to play a role in mismatch repair at a step prior to that of MLH1, is not recruited to incoming genomes and appears to act at a later step in the viral life cycle. Silencing of MSH2 appears to inhibit early gene expression. Thus, both MLH1 and MSH2 are required but appear to participate in distinct events in the virus life cycle. The observation that MLH1 plays an earlier role in HSV-1 infection than does MSH2 is surprising and may indicate a novel function for MLH1 distinct from its known MSH2-dependent role in mismatch repair.
Journal of Virology 09/2011; 85(23):12241-53. DOI:10.1128/JVI.05487-11 · 4.44 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lynch syndrome (LS) is caused by germline mutations in DNA mismatch repair (MMR) genes and is the most prevalent hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome. A significant proportion of variants identified in MMR and other common cancer susceptibility genes are missense or noncoding changes whose consequences for pathogenicity cannot be easily interpreted. Such variants are designated as "variants of uncertain significance" (VUS). Management of LS can be significantly improved by identifying individuals who carry a pathogenic variant and thus benefit from screening, preventive, and therapeutic measures. Also, identifying family members that do not carry the variant is important so they can be released from the intensive surveillance. Determining which genetic variants are pathogenic and which are neutral is a major challenge in clinical genetics. The profound mechanistic knowledge on the genetics and biochemistry of MMR enables the development and use of targeted assays to evaluate the pathogenicity of variants found in suspected patients with LS. We describe different approaches for the functional analysis of MMR gene VUS and propose development of a validated diagnostic framework. Furthermore, we call attention to common misconceptions about functional assays and endorse development of an integrated approach comprising validated assays for diagnosis of VUS in patients suspected of LS.
Human Mutation 12/2012; 33(12). DOI:10.1002/humu.22168 · 5.14 Impact Factor
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