The predicted truncation from a cancer-associated variant of the MSH2 initiation codon alters activity of the MSH2-MSH6 mismatch repair complex.
ABSTRACT 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.
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ABSTRACT: In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, repair of insertion/deletion loops is carried out by Msh2-Msh3-mediated mismatch repair (MMR). Msh2-Msh3 is also required for 3' non-homologous tail removal (3'NHTR) in double-strand break repair. In both pathways, Msh2-Msh3 binds double-strand/single-strand junctions and initiates repair in an ATP-dependent manner. However, the kinetics of the two processes appear different; MMR is likely rapid in order to coordinate with the replication fork, whereas 3' NHTR has been shown to be a slower process. To understand the molecular requirements in both repair pathways, we performed an in vivo analysis of well conserved residues in Msh3 that are hypothesized to be required for MMR and/or 3'NHTR. These residues are predicted to be involved in either communication between the DNA-binding and ATPase domains within the complex or nucleotide binding and/or exchange within Msh2-Msh3. We identified a set of aromatic residues within the FLY motif of the predicted Msh3 nucleotide binding pocket that are essential for Msh2-Msh3-mediated MMR but are largely dispensable for 3'NHTR. In contrast, mutations in other regions gave similar phenotypes in both assays. Based on these results, we suggest the two pathways have distinct requirements with respect to the position of the bound ATP within Msh3. We propose that the differences are related, at least in part, to the kinetics of each pathway. Proper binding and positioning of ATP is required to induce rapid conformational changes at the replication fork, but is less important when more time is available for repair, as in 3' NHTR.Journal of Molecular Biology 02/2013; · 3.91 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Variants that disrupt the translation initiation sequences in cancer predisposition genes are generally assumed to be deleterious. However, few studies have validated these assumptions with functional and clinical data. Two cancer syndrome gene variants likely to affect native translation initiation were identified by clinical genetic testing: MLH1:c.1A>G p.(Met1?) and BRCA2:c.67+3A>G. In vitro GFP-reporter assays were conducted to assess the consequences of translation initiation disruption on alternative downstream initiation codon usage. Analysis of MLH1:c.1A>G p.(Met1?) showed that translation was mostly initiated at an in-frame position 103 nucleotides downstream, but also at two ATG sequences downstream. The protein product encoded by the in-frame transcript initiating from position c.103 showed loss of in vitro mismatch repair activity comparable to known pathogenic mutations. BRCA2:c.67+3A>G was shown by mRNA analysis to result in an aberrantly spliced transcript deleting exon 2 and the consensus ATG site. In the absence of exon 2, translation initiated mostly at an out-of-frame ATG 323 nucleotides downstream, and to a lesser extent at an in-frame ATG 370 nucleotides downstream. Initiation from any of the downstream alternative sites tested in both genes would lead to loss of protein function, but further clinical data is required to confirm if these variants are associated with a high cancer risk. Importantly, our results highlight the need for caution in interpreting the functional and clinical consequences of variation that leads to disruption of the initiation codon, since translation may not necessarily occur from the first downstream alternative start site, or from a single alternative start site. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.Molecular Carcinogenesis 11/2013; · 4.27 Impact Factor
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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 07/2012; · 5.21 Impact Factor