Ultraviolet-light induced p53 mutational spectrum in yeast is indistinguishable from p53 mutations in human skin cancer

Alberto Inga, Gina Scott, Paola Monti, Anna Aprile, Angelo Abbondandolo, Philip A. Burns, Gilberto Fronza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ultraviolet (UV) light has been associated with the development of human non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC). Such cancers often exhibit mutations in the p53 tumour suppressor gene. In order to determine the UV-induced p53 mutation spectrum, a yeast expression vector that harbours a human wild-type p53 cDNA was UV-irradiated in vitro and transfected into a yeast strain that contained the ADE2 gene regulated by a p53-responsive promoter. Forty-five mutant clones contained 51 mutations. Seven mutations were tandem base pair substitutions, four of which being CC→TT, hallmark mutations of UV mutagenesis. Eighty percent (41/51) of the mutations were single or non-tandem base pair substitutions, the majority of which (27/41) were C→T transitions. Ninety-five percent of such mutations occurred at dipyrimidine sites. Through a rigorous statistical test, the UV-induced p53 mutation spectrum appears to differ significantly (P <0.008) from the one induced by the antineoplastic drug chloroethylcyclohexyl-nitrosourea, and to be indistinguishable from the one observed in NMSC (P = 0.4). These results demonstrate that the assay allows the determination of carcinogen-specific p53 mutation fingerprints and represents a new tool for molecular epidemiology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)741-746
Number of pages6
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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