[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: V(D)J recombination of immunoglobulin loci is dependent on the immune cell-specific Rag1 and Rag2 proteins as well as a number of ubiquitously expressed cellular DNA repair proteins that catalyze non-homologous end-joining of DNA double-strand breaks. The evolutionarily conserved Rad50/Mre11/Nibrin protein complex has a role in DNA double-strand break-repair, suggesting that these proteins, too, may participate in V(D)J recombination. Recent findings demonstrating that Rad50 function is defective in cells from patients afflicted with Fanconi anemia provide a possible mechanistic explanation for previous findings that lymphoblasts derived from these patients exhibit subtle defects in V(D)J recombination of extrachromosomal plasmid molecules. Here, we describe a series of findings that provide convincing evidence for a role of the Rad50 protein complex in V(D)J recombination. We found that the fidelity of V(D)J signal joint recombination in fibroblasts from patients afflicted with Fanconi anemia was reduced by nearly tenfold, compared to that observed in fibroblasts from normal donors. Second, we observed that antibody-mediated inhibition of the Rad50, Mre11, or Nibrin proteins reduced the fidelity of signal joint recombination significantly in wild-type cells. The latter finding was somewhat unexpected, because signal joint rejoining in cells from patients with Nijmegen breakage syndrome, which results from mutations in the Nibrin gene, occurs with normal fidelity. However, introduction of anti-Nibrin antibodies into these cells reduced the fidelity of signal joint recombination dramatically. These data reveal for the first time a role for the Rad50 complex in V(D)J recombination, and demonstrate that the protein product of the disease-causing allele responsible for Nijmegen breakage syndrome encodes a protein with residual DNA double-strand break repair activity.
Journal of Molecular Biology 08/2007; 370(3):449-58. · 3.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Widespread loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in cancer cells is often thought to result from chromosomal instability caused by mutations affecting DNA repair/genome maintenance; however, the origin of LOH in most tumors is unknown. In a recent study, we examined the ability of carcinogenic agents to induce LOH in diploid mouse embryo-derived stem (ES) cells. Brief exposures to nontoxic levels of several carcinogens stimulated genome-wide LOH, with maximum per-gene frequencies approaching one percent. These results suggest that LOH contributes significantly to the carcinogenicity of a variety of mutagens, and that genome-wide LOH may result from prior exposure to genotoxic agents rather than from a state of chromosomal instability during the carcinogenic process. Mechanisms in stem cells that influence carcinogen-induced LOH are likely to play central roles in the etiology of nonhereditary cancers that often arise after extensive carcinogen exposures.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Widespread losses of heterozygosity (LOH) in human cancer have been thought to result from chromosomal instability caused by mutations affecting DNA repair/genome maintenance. However, the origin of LOH in most tumors is unknown. The present study examined the ability of carcinogenic agents to induce LOH at 53 sites throughout the genome of normal diploid mouse ES cells. Brief exposures to nontoxic levels of methylnitrosourea, diepoxybutane, mitomycin C, hydroxyurea, doxorubicin, and UV light stimulated LOH at all loci at frequencies ranging from 1-8 x 10(-3) per cell (10-123 times higher than in untreated cells). This greatly exceeds the frequencies at which these agents have been reported to induce point mutations and is comparable to the rates of LOH observed in ES cells lacking the gene responsible for Bloom syndrome, an inherited DNA repair defect that results in greatly increased risk of cancer. These results suggest that LOH contributes significantly to the carcinogenicity of a variety of mutagens and raises the possibility that genome-wide LOH observed in some human cancers may reflect prior exposure to genotoxic agents rather than a state of chromosomal instability during the carcinogenic process. Finally, as a practical matter, chemically induced LOH is expected to enhance the recovery of homozygous recessive mutants from phenotype-based genetic screens in mammalian cells.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 09/2006; 103(31):11642-6. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nucleolin associates with various DNA repair, recombination, and replication proteins, and possesses DNA helicase, strand annealing, and strand pairing activities. Examination of nuclear protein extracts from human somatic cells revealed that nucleolin and Rad51 co-immunoprecipitate. Furthermore, purified recombinant Rad51 associates with in vitro transcribed and translated nucleolin. Electroporation-mediated introduction of anti-nucleolin antibody resulted in a 10- to 20-fold reduction in intra-plasmid homologous recombination activity in human fibrosarcoma cells. Additionally, introduction of anti-nucleolin antibody sensitized cells to death induced by the topoisomerase II inhibitor, amsacrine. Introduction of anti-Rad51 antibody also reduced intra-plasmid homologous recombination activity and induced hypersensitivity to amsacrine-induced cell death. Co-introduction of anti-nucleolin and anti-Rad51 antibodies did not produce additive effects on homologous recombination or on cellular sensitivity to amsacrine. The association of the two proteins raises the intriguing possibility that nucleolin binding to Rad51 may function to regulate homologous recombinational repair of chromosomal DNA.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 06/2006; 344(1):206-13. · 2.41 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The present study describes a genome-wide method for biallelic mutagenesis in mammalian cells. Novel poly(A) gene trap vectors, which contain features for direct cloning vector-cell fusion transcripts and for post-entrapment genome engineering, were used to generate a library of 979 mutant ES cells. The entrapment mutations generally disrupted gene expression and were readily transmitted through the germline, establishing the library as a resource for constructing mutant mice. Cells homozygous for most entrapment loci could be isolated by selecting for enhanced expression of an inserted neomycin-resistance gene that resulted from losses of heterozygosity (LOH). The frequencies of LOH measured at 37 sites in the genome ranged from 1.3 x 10(-5) to 1.2 x 10(-4) per cell and increased with increasing distance from the centromere, implicating mitotic recombination in the process. The ease and efficiency of obtaining homozygous mutations will (i) facilitate genetic studies of gene function in cultured cells, (ii) permit genome-wide studies of recombination events that result in LOH and mediate a type of chromosomal instability important in carcinogenesis, and (iii) provide new strategies for phenotype-driven mutagenesis screens in mammalian cells.
Nucleic Acids Research 02/2006; 34(20):e139. · 8.28 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fanconi anemia (FA) is an autosomal recessive disorder associated with pancytopenia and cancer susceptibility. The disorder is heterogeneous, with at least nine complementation groups having been identified. Several recent studies have suggested that defective plasmid DNA end-joining is a consistent feature of FA cells. It was therefore surprising to discover a strain of fibroblasts from an FA patient that possessed wild-type plasmid DNA end-joining activity. Unlike other FA strains, these fibroblasts have wild-type levels of homologous DNA recombination activity and are relatively insensitive to restriction endonuclease-induced death. Interestingly, while end-joining in a number of FA fibroblast strains belonging to complementation groups A, C, and D2 was approximately 70% precise, end-joining in this latter strain of fibroblasts was more than 95% imprecise. Analysis revealed that these latter cells harbored an allele of the FA C gene, referred to as 322delG, that encodes an amino-terminal truncated protein. The relative rarity of this allele precluded the analysis of other FA fibroblast strains; however, studies revealed that overexpression of this allele in normal cells recapitulated the DNA end-joining phenotype seen in the 322delG FA fibroblast strain. These results indicate that DNA end-joining in fibroblasts expressing the 322delG allele of the FA-C gene in fibroblasts is highly imprecise; however, the DNA repair efficiency of these cells is more normal than that commonly associated with FA fibroblasts. This conclusion is intriguing, since a number of reports have suggested that patients harboring this allele exhibit a milder clinical course than do individuals with other alleles of the FA-C gene.
Journal of Molecular Biology 11/2004; 342(5):1443-55. · 3.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fanconi anemia (FA) is a fatal genetic disorder associated with pancytopenia and cancer. Cells lacking functional FA genes are hypersensitive to bifunctional alkylating agents, and are deficient in DNA double-strand break repair. Multiple genes with FA-causing mutations have been cloned, however, the molecular basis for FA remains obscure. The results presented herein indicate that a Rad50-dependent end-joining process is non-functional in diploid fibroblasts from FA patients. Introduction of anti-Rad50 antibody into normal fibroblasts sensitized them to DNA damaging agents, whereas this treatment had no effect on fibroblasts from FA patients. The DNA end-joining process deficient in FA cells also requires the Mre11, Nbs1 and DNA ligase IV proteins. These data reveal the existence of a previously uncharacterized Rad50-dependent DNA double-strand break repair pathway in mammalian somatic cells, and suggest that failure to activate this pathway is responsible, at least in part, for the defective DNA end-joining observed in FA cells.
Nucleic Acids Research 02/2004; 32(10):3248-57. · 8.28 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fibroblasts from patients with Fanconi anemia (FA) display genomic instability, hypersensitivity to DNA cross-linking agents, and deficient DNA end joining. Fibroblasts from two FA patients of unidentified complementation group also had significantly increased cellular homologous recombination (HR) activity. Results described herein show that HR activity levels in patient-derived FA fibroblasts of groups A, C, and G were 10-fold greater than those seen in normal fibroblasts. In contrast, HR activity in group D2 fibroblasts was identical to that in normal cells. Western blot analysis revealed that the RAD51 protein was elevated 10-fold above normal levels in group A, C, and G fibroblasts, but was not altered in group D2 fibroblasts. HR activity levels in these former cells could be restored to near-normal levels by electroporation with anti-RAD51 antibody, whereas similar treatment of normal and complementation group D2 fibroblasts had no effect. These findings are consistent with a model in which FA proteins function to coordinate DNA double-strand break repair activity by regulating both recombinational and non-recombinational DNA repair. Interestingly, whereas positive regulation of DNA end joining requires the combined presence of all FA proteins thus far tested, suppression of HR, which is minimally dependent on the FANCA, FANCC, and FANCG proteins, does not require FANCD2.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2003; 278(32):29487-95. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fanconi anemia (FA) is a heterogeneous autosomal recessive disease characterized by congenital abnormalities, pancytopenia, and an increased incidence of cancer. Cells cultured from FA patients display elevated spontaneous chromosomal breaks and deletions and are hypersensitive to bifunctional cross-linking agents. Thus, it has been hypothesized that FA is a DNA repair disorder. We analyzed plasmid end-joining in intact diploid fibroblast cells derived from FA patients. FA fibroblasts from complementation groups A, C, D2, and G rejoined linearized plasmids with a significantly decreased efficiency compared with non-FA fibroblasts. Retrovirus-mediated expression of the respective FA cDNAs in FA cells restored their end-joining efficiency to wild type levels. Human FA fibroblasts and fibroblasts from FA rodent models were also significantly more sensitive to restriction enzyme-induced chromosomal DNA double strand breaks than were their retrovirally corrected counterparts. Taken together, these data show that FA fibroblasts have a deficiency in both extra-chromosomal and chromosomal DNA double strand break repair, a defect that could provide an attractive explanation for some of the pathologies associated with FA.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2002; 277(48):46243-7. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Expression vectors were created in which the 5' end of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae CDC9 gene, which encodes a mitochondrial targeting peptide, was cloned in-frame with the coding regions of the EcoR I, Hind III, and Pst I endonuclease genes. Expression of the EcoR I and Hind III fusion proteins inhibited growth of yeast on glycerol-containing media and resulted in the nearly quantitative restriction digestion of their mitochondrial DNA. In contrast, expression of Pst I, which does not recognize any sites within yeast mitochondrial DNA, had no effect on growth in glycerol-containing media, and did not affect the integrity of the mitochondrial genome.