Guo-Min Li

University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, United States

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Publications (39)272.35 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: MutS protein homolog 2 (MSH2) is a key DNA mismatch repair protein. It forms the MSH2-MSH6 (MutSα) and MSH2-MSH3 (MutSβ) heterodimers, which help to ensure genomic integrity. MutSα not only recognizes and repairs mismatched nucleotides but also recognizes DNA adducts induced by DNA-damaging agents, and triggers cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis. Loss or depletion of MutSα from cells leads to microsatellite instability (MSI) and resistance to DNA damage. Although the level of MutSα can be reduced by the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway, the detailed mechanisms of this regulation remain elusive. Here we report that histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6) sequentially deacetylates and ubiquitinates MSH2, leading to MSH2 degradation. In addition, HDAC6 significantly reduces cellular sensitivity to DNA-damaging agents and decreases cellular DNA mismatch repair activities by downregulation of MSH2. Overall, these findings reveal a mechanism by which proper levels of MutSα are maintained.
    Molecular Cell 05/2014; · 15.28 Impact Factor
  • Guo-Min Li
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    ABSTRACT: DNA mismatch repair (MMR) maintains genome stability primarily by repairing DNA replication-associated mispairs. Because loss of MMR function increases the mutation frequency genome-wide, defects in this pathway predispose affected individuals to cancer. The genes encoding essential eukaryotic MMR activities have been identified, as the recombinant proteins repair 'naked' heteroduplex DNA in vitro. However, the reconstituted system is inactive on nucleosome-containing heteroduplex DNA, and it is not understood how MMR occurs in vivo. Recent studies suggest that chromatin organization, nucleosome assembly/disassembly factors and histone modifications regulate MMR in eukaryotic cells, but the complexity and importance of the interaction between MMR and chromatin remodeling has only recently begun to be appreciated. This article reviews recent progress in understanding the mechanism of eukaryotic MMR in the context of chromatin structure and dynamics, considers the implications of these recent findings and discusses unresolved questions and challenges in understanding eukaryotic MMR.
    DNA repair 04/2014; · 4.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Huntington's disease gene (HTT) CAG repeat mutation undergoes somatic expansion that correlates with pathogenesis. Modifiers of somatic expansion may therefore provide routes for therapies targeting the underlying mutation, an approach that is likely applicable to other trinucleotide repeat diseases. Huntington's disease Hdh(Q111) mice exhibit higher levels of somatic HTT CAG expansion on a C57BL/6 genetic background (B6.Hdh(Q111) ) than on a 129 background (129.Hdh(Q111) ). Linkage mapping in (B6x129).Hdh(Q111) F2 intercross animals identified a single quantitative trait locus underlying the strain-specific difference in expansion in the striatum, implicating mismatch repair (MMR) gene Mlh1 as the most likely candidate modifier. Crossing B6.Hdh(Q111) mice onto an Mlh1 null background demonstrated that Mlh1 is essential for somatic CAG expansions and that it is an enhancer of nuclear huntingtin accumulation in striatal neurons. Hdh(Q111) somatic expansion was also abolished in mice deficient in the Mlh3 gene, implicating MutLγ (MLH1-MLH3) complex as a key driver of somatic expansion. Strikingly, Mlh1 and Mlh3 genes encoding MMR effector proteins were as critical to somatic expansion as Msh2 and Msh3 genes encoding DNA mismatch recognition complex MutSβ (MSH2-MSH3). The Mlh1 locus is highly polymorphic between B6 and 129 strains. While we were unable to detect any difference in base-base mismatch or short slipped-repeat repair activity between B6 and 129 MLH1 variants, repair efficiency was MLH1 dose-dependent. MLH1 mRNA and protein levels were significantly decreased in 129 mice compared to B6 mice, consistent with a dose-sensitive MLH1-dependent DNA repair mechanism underlying the somatic expansion difference between these strains. Together, these data identify Mlh1 and Mlh3 as novel critical genetic modifiers of HTT CAG instability, point to Mlh1 genetic variation as the likely source of the instability difference in B6 and 129 strains and suggest that MLH1 protein levels play an important role in driving of the efficiency of somatic expansions.
    PLoS Genetics 10/2013; 9(10):e1003930. · 8.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: DNA mismatch repair (MMR) ensures replication fidelity by correcting mismatches generated during DNA replication. Although human MMR has been reconstituted in vitro, how MMR occurs in vivo is unknown. Here, we show that an epigenetic histone mark, H3K36me3, is required in vivo to recruit the mismatch recognition protein hMutSα (hMSH2-hMSH6) onto chromatin through direct interactions with the hMSH6 PWWP domain. The abundance of H3K36me3 in G1 and early S phases ensures that hMutSα is enriched on chromatin before mispairs are introduced during DNA replication. Cells lacking the H3K36 trimethyltransferase SETD2 display microsatellite instability (MSI) and an elevated spontaneous mutation frequency, characteristic of MMR-deficient cells. This work reveals that a histone mark regulates MMR in human cells and explains the long-standing puzzle of MSI-positive cancer cells that lack detectable mutations in known MMR genes.
    Cell 04/2013; 153(3):590-600. · 31.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Expansion of CAG/CTG trinucleotide repeats causes certain familial neurological disorders. Hairpin formation in the nascent strand during DNA synthesis is considered a major path for CAG/CTG repeat expansion. However, the underlying mechanism is unclear. We show here that removal or retention of a nascent strand hairpin during DNA synthesis depends on hairpin structures and types of DNA polymerases. Polymerase (pol) δ alone removes the 3'-slipped hairpin using its 3'-5' proofreading activity when the hairpin contains no immediate 3' complementary sequences. However, in the presence of pol β, pol δ preferentially facilitates hairpin retention regardless of hairpin structures. In this reaction, pol β incorporates several nucleotides to the hairpin 3' end, which serves as an effective primer for the continuous DNA synthesis by pol δ, thereby leading to hairpin retention and repeat expansion. These findings strongly suggest that coordinated processing of 3'-slipped (CAG)n/(CTG)n hairpins by polymerases δ and β on during DNA synthesis induces CAG/CTG repeat expansions.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2013; · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    Xi Chen, Yong Zhao, Guo-Min Li, Lin Guo
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    ABSTRACT: Mediating DNA damage-induced apoptosis is an important genome-maintenance function of the mismatch repair (MMR) system. Defects in MMR not only cause carcinogenesis, but also render cancer cells highly resistant to chemotherapeutics, including alkylating agents. To understand the mechanisms of MMR-mediated apoptosis and MMR-deficiency-caused drug resistance, we analyze a model alkylating agent (N-methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine, MNNG)-induced changes in protein phosphorylation and abundance in two cell lines, the MMR-proficient TK6 and its derivative MMR-deficient MT1. Under an experimental condition that MNNG-induced apoptosis was only observed in MutSa-proficient (TK6), but not in MutSa-deficient (MT1) cells, quantitative analysis of the proteomic data revealed differential expression and phosphorylation of numerous individual proteins and clusters of protein kinase substrates, as well differential activation of response pathways/networks in MNNG-treated TK6 and MT1 cells. Many alterations in TK6 cells are in favor of turning on the apoptotic machinery, while many of those in MT1 cells are to promote cell proliferation and anti-apoptosis. Our work provides novel molecular insights into the mechanism of MMR-mediated DNA damage-induced apoptosis.
    Cell & bioscience. 01/2013; 3(1):37.
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    ABSTRACT: Expansion of CAG/CTG repeats causes certain neurological and neurodegenerative disorders, and the formation and subsequent persistence of stable DNA hairpins within these repeats are believed to contribute to CAG/CTG repeat instability. Human cells possess a DNA hairpin repair (HPR) pathway, which removes various (CAG)(n) and (CTG)(n) hairpins in a nick-directed and strand-specific manner. Interestingly, this HPR system processes a (CTG)(n) hairpin on the template DNA strand much less efficiently than a (CAG)(n) hairpin on the same strand (Hou, C., Chan, N. L., Gu, L., and Li, G. M. (2009) Incision-dependent and error-free repair of (CAG)(n)/(CTG)(n) hairpins in human cell extracts. Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. 16, 869-875), suggesting the involvement of an additional component for (CTG)(n) HPR. To identify this activity, a functional in vitro HPR assay was used to screen partially purified HeLa nuclear fractions for their ability to stimulate (CTG)(n) HPR. We demonstrate here that the stimulating activity is the Werner syndrome protein (WRN). Although WRN contains both a 3'→5' helicase activity and a 3'→5' exonuclease activity, the stimulating activity was found to be the helicase activity, as a WRN helicase mutant failed to enhance (CTG)(n) HPR. Consistently, WRN efficiently unwound large (CTG)(n) hairpins and promoted DNA polymerase δ-catalyzed DNA synthesis using a (CTG)(n) hairpin as a template. We, therefore, conclude that WRN stimulates (CTG)(n) HPR on the template DNA strand by resolving the hairpin so that it can be efficiently used as a template for repair or replicative synthesis.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 07/2012; 287(36):30151-6. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The hMSH2(M688R) mismatch repair (MMR) gene mutation has been found in five large families from Tenerife, Spain, suggesting it is a Lynch syndrome or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (LS/HNPCC) founder mutation. In addition to classical LS/HNPCC tumors, these families present with a high incidence of central nervous system (CNS) tumors normally associated with Turcot or constitutional mismatch repair deficiency (CMMR-D) syndromes. Turcot and CMMR-D mutations may be biallelic, knocking out both copies of the MMR gene. The hMSH2(M688R) mutation is located in the ATP hydrolysis (ATPase) domain. We show that the hMSH2(M688R)-hMSH6 heterodimer binds to mismatched nucleotides but lacks normal ATP functions and inhibits MMR in vitro when mixed with the wild-type (WT) heterodimer. Another alteration that has been associated with LS/HNPCC, hMSH2(M688I)-hMSH6, displays no identifiable differences with the WT heterodimer. Interestingly, some extracolonic tumors from hMSH2(M688R) carriers may express hMSH2-hMSH6, yet display microsatellite instability (MSI). The functional analysis along with variability in tumor expression and the high incidence of CNS tumors suggests that hMSH2(M688R) may act as a dominant negative in some tissues, while the hMSH2(M688I) is most likely a benign polymorphism.
    Carcinogenesis 06/2012; 33(9):1647-54. · 5.64 Impact Factor
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    Guo-Min Li
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    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT: The fidelity of the genome is under constant threat by exogenous and endogenous reactive species, including toxic chemicals, ionizing radiation and byproducts of normal cellular metabolism. These species cause damage to DNA by modifying DNA bases, breaking DNA strands and/or altering DNA structures. When this happens, the consequences to the cell can be disastrous, ranging from single gene mutations to massive chromosomal breakdown and rearrangements. These instabilities lead to severe human diseases including cancer.
    Cell & bioscience. 02/2012; 2:4.
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    ABSTRACT: Expansion of CAG/CTG trinucleotide repeats (TNRs) in humans is associated with a number of neurological and neurodegenerative disorders including Huntington's disease. Increasing evidence suggests that formation of a stable DNA hairpin within CAG/CTG repeats during DNA metabolism leads to TNR instability. However, the molecular mechanism by which cells recognize and repair CAG/CTG hairpins is largely unknown. Recent studies have identified a novel DNA repair pathway specifically removing (CAG)(n)/(CTG)(n) hairpins, which is considered a major mechanism responsible for TNR instability. The hairpin repair (HPR) system targets the repeat tracts for incisions in the nicked strand in an error-free manner. To determine the substrate spectrum of the HPR system and its ability to process smaller hairpins, which may be the intermediates for CAG/CTG expansions, we constructed a series of CAG/CTG hairpin heteroduplexes containing different numbers of repeats (from 5 to 25) and examined their repair in human nuclear extracts. We show here that although repair efficiencies differ slightly among these substrates, removal of the individual hairpin structures all involve endonucleolytic incisions within the repeat tracts in the nicked DNA strand. Analysis of the repair intermediates defined specific incision sites for each substrate, which were all located within the repeat regions. Mismatch repair proteins are not required for, nor do they inhibit, the processing of smaller hairpin structures. These results suggest that the HPR system ensures CAG/CTG stability primarily by removing various sizes of (CAG)(n)/(CTG)(n) hairpin structures during DNA metabolism.
    DNA repair 02/2012; 11(2):201-9. · 4.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are critical post-transcriptional regulators and are derived from hairpin-shaped primary transcripts via a series of processing steps. However, how the production of individual miRNAs is regulated remains largely unknown. Similarly, loss or overexpression of the key mismatch repair protein MutLα (MLH1-PMS2 heterodimer) leads to genome instability and tumorigenesis, but the mechanisms controlling MutLα expression are unknown. Here we demonstrate in vitro and in vivo that MLH1 and miR-422a participate in a feedback loop that regulates the level of both molecules. Using a defined in-vitro miRNA processing system, we show that MutLα stimulates the conversion of pri-miR-422a to pre-miR-422a, as well as the processing of other miRNAs tested, implicating MutLα as a general stimulating factor for miRNA biogenesis. This newly identified MutLα function requires its ATPase and pri-miRNA binding activities. In contrast, miR-422a downregulates MutLα levels by suppressing MLH1 expression through base pairing with the MLH1 3'-untranslated region. A model depicting this feedback mechanism is discussed.
    Cell Research 01/2012; 22(6):973-85. · 10.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Acrolein (Acr), a ubiquitous environmental contaminant, is a human carcinogen. Acr can react with DNA to form mutagenic α- and γ-hydroxy-1, N(2)-cyclic propano-2'-deoxyguanosine adducts (α-OH-Acr-dG and γ-OH-Acr-dG). We demonstrate here that Acr-dG adducts can be efficiently repaired by the nucleotide excision repair (NER) pathway in normal human bronchial epithelia (NHBE) and lung fibroblasts (NHLF). However, the same adducts were poorly processed in cell lysates isolated from Acr-treated NHBE and NHLF, suggesting that Acr inhibits NER. In addition, we show that Acr treatment also inhibits base excision repair and mismatch repair. Although Acr does not change the expression of XPA, XPC, hOGG1, PMS2 or MLH1 genes, it causes a reduction of XPA, XPC, hOGG1, PMS2, and MLH1 proteins; this effect, however, can be neutralized by the proteasome inhibitor MG132. Acr treatment further enhances both bulky and oxidative DNA damage-induced mutagenesis. These results indicate that Acr not only damages DNA but can also modify DNA repair proteins and further causes degradation of these modified repair proteins. We propose that these two detrimental effects contribute to Acr mutagenicity and carcinogenicity.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 01/2012; 287(15):12379-86. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • Liya Gu, Charles M Ensor, Guo-Min Li
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    ABSTRACT: The in vitro DNA mismatch repair (MMR) assay is a very useful technique for studying the functions and the mechanisms of the MMR system in genome maintenance. This assay has been effectively used to evaluate MMR proficiency in various tumor cells and to identify the majority of the protein components required for MMR. The procedure for setting up and performing the MMR assay involves mismatch substrate preparation, cell extract preparation, and the repair assay. In this chapter, we describe the detailed methods for this functional in vitro assay.
    Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 01/2012; 920:135-47. · 1.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The premature aging and cancer-prone disease Werner syndrome is caused by loss of function of the RecQ helicase family member Werner syndrome protein (WRN). At the cellular level, loss of WRN results in replication abnormalities and chromosomal aberrations, indicating that WRN plays a role in maintenance of genome stability. Consistent with this notion, WRN possesses annealing, exonuclease, and ATPase-dependent helicase activity on DNA substrates, with particularly high affinity for and activity on replication and recombination structures. After certain DNA-damaging treatments, WRN is recruited to sites of blocked replication and co-localizes with the human single-stranded DNA-binding protein replication protein A (RPA). In this study we examined the physical and functional interaction between WRN and RPA specifically in relation to replication fork blockage. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments demonstrated that damaging treatments that block DNA replication substantially increased association between WRN and RPA in vivo, and a direct interaction between purified WRN and RPA was confirmed. Furthermore, we examined the combined action of RPA (unmodified and hyperphosphorylation mimetic) and WRN on model replication fork and gapped duplex substrates designed to bind RPA. Even with RPA bound stoichiometrically to this gap, WRN efficiently catalyzed regression of the fork substrate. Further analysis showed that RPA could be displaced from both substrates by WRN. RPA displacement by WRN was independent of its ATPase- and helicase-dependent remodeling of the fork. Taken together, our results suggest that, upon replication blockage, WRN and RPA functionally interact and cooperate to help properly resolve replication forks and maintain genome stability.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2011; 286(5):3497-508. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During DNA replication or repair, disease-associated (CAG)n/(CTG)n expansion can result from formation of hairpin structures in the repeat tract of the newly synthesized or nicked DNA strand. Recent studies identified a nick-directed (CAG)n/(CTG)n hairpin repair (HPR) system that removes (CAG)n/(CTG)n hairpins from human cells via endonucleolytic incisions. Because the process is highly similar to the mechanism by which XPG and XPF endonucleases remove bulky DNA lesions during nucleotide excision repair, we assessed the potential role of XPG in conducting (CAG)n/(CTG)n HPR. To determine if the XPG endonuclease is involved in (CAG)n/(CTG)n hairpin removal, two XPG-deficient cell lines (GM16024 and AG08802) were examined for their ability to process (CAG)n/(CTG)n hairpins in vitro. We demonstrated that the GM16024 cell line processes all hairpin substrates as efficiently as HeLa cells, and that the AG08802 cell line is partially defective in HPR. Analysis of repair intermediates revealed that nuclear extracts from both XPG-deficient lines remove CAG/CTG hairpins via incisions, but the incision products are distinct from those generated in HeLa extracts. We also show that purified recombinant XPG protein greatly stimulates HPR in XPG-deficient extracts by promoting an incision 5' to the hairpin. Our results strongly suggest that 1) human cells possess multiple pathways to remove (CAG)n/(CTG)n hairpins located in newly synthesized (or nicked) DNA strand; and 2) XPG, although not essential for (CAG)n/(CTG)n hairpin removal, stimulates HPR by facilitating a 5' incision to the hairpin. This study reveals a novel role for XPG in genome-maintenance and implicates XPG in diseases caused by trinucleotide repeat expansion.
    Cell & bioscience. 01/2011; 1(1):11.
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    Guo-Min Li
    Cell Research 02/2010; 20(2):116-8. · 10.53 Impact Factor
  • Feng Li, Lei Tian, Liya Gu, Guo-Min Li
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    ABSTRACT: The influence of chromatin structure on DNA metabolic processes, including DNA replication and repair, has been a matter of intensive studies in recent years. Although the human mismatch repair (MMR) reaction has been reconstituted using purified proteins, the influence of chromatin structure on human MMR is unknown. This study examines the interaction between human MutSalpha and a mismatch located within a nucleosome or between two nucleosomes. The results show that, whereas MutSalpha specifically recognizes both types of nucleosomal heteroduplexes, the protein bound the mismatch within a nucleosome with much lower efficiency than a naked heteroduplex or a heterology free of histone proteins but between two nucleosomes. Additionally, MutSalpha displays reduced ATPase- and ADP-binding activity when interacting with nucleosomal heteroduplexes. Interestingly, nucleosomes block ATP-induced MutSalpha sliding along the DNA helix when the mismatch is in between two nucleosomes. These findings suggest that nucleosomes may inhibit MMR in eukaryotic cells. The implications of these findings for our understanding of eukaryotic MMR are discussed.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2009; 284(48):33056-61. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Expansion of CAG/CTG trinucleotide repeats is associated with certain familial neurological disorders, including Huntington's disease. Increasing evidence suggests that formation of a stable DNA hairpin within CAG/CTG repeats during DNA metabolism contributes to their expansion. However, the molecular mechanism(s) by which cells remove CAG/CTG hairpins remain unknown. Here we demonstrate that human cell extracts can catalyze error-free repair of CAG/CTG hairpins in a nick-directed manner. The repair system specifically targets CAG/CTG tracts for incisions in the nicked DNA strand, followed by DNA resynthesis using the continuous strand as a template, thereby ensuring CAG/CTG stability. Proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) is required for the incision step of the hairpin removal, which uses distinct endonuclease activities for individual CAG/CTG hairpins depending on their strand locations and/or secondary structures. We discuss the implications of these data for understanding the etiology of neurological diseases and trinucleotide repeat instability.
    Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 09/2009; 16(8):869-75. · 11.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: CAG repeats form stable hairpin structures, which are believed to be responsible for CAG repeat expansions associated with certain human neurological diseases. Human cells possess an accurate DNA hairpin repair system that prevents expansion of disease-associated CAG repeats. Based on transgenic animal studies, it is suggested that (CAG)(n) expansion is caused by abnormal binding of the MutSbeta mismatch recognition protein to (CAG)(n) hairpins, leading to hijacking mismatch repair function during (CAG)(n) hairpin repair. We demonstrate here that MutSbeta displays identical biochemical and biophysical activities (including ATP-provoked conformational change, ATPase, ATP binding, and ADP binding) when interacting with a (CAG)(n) hairpin and a mismatch. More importantly, our in vitro functional hairpin repair assays reveal that excess MutSbeta does not inhibit (CAG)(n) hairpin repair in HeLa nuclear extracts. Evidence presented here provides a novel view as to whether or not MutSbeta is involved in CAG repeat instability in humans.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 07/2009; 284(31):20452-6. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • Lei Tian, Liya Gu, Guo-Min Li
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    ABSTRACT: MutSalpha (MSH2/MSH6) and MutSbeta (MSH2/MSH3) are eukaryotic mismatch recognition proteins that preferentially process base-base and small insertion/deletion (ID) mispairs, respectively, despite the fact that cells contain a MutSalpha:MutSbeta ratio of 10:1. To explore the mechanism underlying the differential mismatch recognition by these two proteins, purified human MutSalpha and MutSbeta were analyzed individually and competitively for their abilities to interact with a T-G and an ID substrate. We show that MutSalpha has K(D) values of 26.5 and 38.2 nm for the G-T and ID substrates, respectively, and that MutSbeta has K(D) values of 76.5 and 23.5 nm for G-T and ID, respectively. Consistent with these results, competitive binding assays revealed the following relative binding affinities: MutSbeta-ID > MutSalpha-T-G > MutSalpha-ID > MutSbeta-T-G. Interestingly, binding of MutSbeta to ID heteroduplexes is greatly stimulated when the MutSalpha:MutSbeta ratio is > or = 10. Distinct ATP/ADP binding and ATPase activities of MutSalpha and MutSbeta were also observed. In the absence of DNA, ADP binding and ATPase activities of MutSbeta are significantly higher than those of MutSalpha. However, interaction with DNA significantly stimulates the MutSalpha ATPase activity and reduces the MutSbeta ATPase activity, the consequence being that both proteins exhibit the same level of hydrolytic activity. We conclude that the preferential processing of base-base and ID heteroduplexes by MutSalpha and MutSbeta is determined by their significant differences in ATPase activity, ADP binding activity, and high cellular MutSalpha:MutSbeta ratio.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 03/2009; 284(17):11557-62. · 4.65 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

815 Citations
272.35 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2002–2013
    • University of Kentucky
      • • Graduate Center for Toxicology
      • • Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
      Lexington, Kentucky, United States
  • 2012
    • Wuhan University
      • State Key Laboratory of Virology
      Wuhan, Hubei, China