Role of MUTYH and MSH2 in the control of oxidative DNA damage, genetic instability, and tumorigenesis

Maria Teresa Russo, Gabriele De Luca, Ida Casorelli, Paolo Degan, Sara Molatore, Flavia Barone, Filomena Mazzei, Tania Pannellini, Piero Musiani, Margherita Bignami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mismatch repair is the major pathway controlling genetic stability by removing mispairs caused by faulty replication and/or mismatches containing oxidized bases. Thus, inactivation of the Msh2 mismatch repair gene is associated with a mutator phenotype and increased cancer susceptibility. The base excision repair gene Mutyh is also involved in the maintenance of genomic integrity by repairing premutagenic lesions induced by oxidative DNA damage. Because evidence in bacteria suggested that Msh2 and Mutyh repair factors might have some overlapping functions, we investigated the biological consequences of their single and double inactivation in vitro and in vivo. Msh2-/- mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEF) showed a strong mutator phenotype at the hprt gene, whereas Mutyh inactivation was associated with a milder phenotype (2.9 × 10-6 and 3.3 × 10-7 mutation/cell/ generation, respectively). The value of 2.7 × 10-6 mutation/cell/generation in Msh2-/-Mutyh-/- MEFs did not differ significantly from Msh2-/- cells. When steady-state levels of DNA 8-oxo-7,8-dihydroguanine (8-oxoG) were measured in MEFs of different genotypes, single gene inactivation resulted in increases similar to those observed in doubly defective cells. In contrast, a synergistic accumulation of 8-oxoG was observed in several organs of Msh2-/-Mutyh-/- animals, suggesting that in vivo Msh2 and Mutyh provide separate repair functions and contribute independently to the control of oxidative DNA damage. Finally, a strong delay in lymphomagenesis was observed in Msh2 -/-Mutyh-/- when compared with Msh2-/- animals. The immunophenotype of these tumors indicate that both genotypes develop B-cell lymphoblastic lymphomas displaying microsatellite instability. This suggests that a large fraction of the cancer-prone phenotype of Msh2-/- mice depends on Mutyh activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4372-4379
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - May 15 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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