Journal Article

Human <i>O</i><sup>6</sup>-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase: protection against alkylating agents and sensitization to dibromoalkanes

Nieves Abril, Francisco L. Luque-Romero, Fred C. Christians, Lance P. Encell, Lawrence A. Loeb and Carmen Pueyo

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 20, issue 11, pages 2089-2094
Published in print November 1999 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online November 1999 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
Human O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase: protection against alkylating agents and sensitization to dibromoalkanes

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O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (AGT) is a suicide protein that corrects DNA damage by alkylating agents and may also serve to activate environmental carcinogens. We expressed human wild-type and two active mutant AGTs in bacteria that lack endogenous AGT and are also defective in nucleotide excision repair, to examine the ability of the AGTs to protect Escherichia coli from DNA damage by different types of alkylating agents and, oppositely, to sensitize cells to the genotoxic effects of dibromoalkanes (DBAs). Control bacteria carrying the cloning vector alone were extremely sensitive to mutagenesis by low, noncytotoxic doses of N-methyl-N′-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG). Expression of human wild-type AGT prevented most of this enlarged susceptibility to MNNG mutagenesis. Oppositely, cell killing required much higher MNNG concentrations and prevention by wild-type AGT was much less effective. Mutants V139F and V139F/P140R/L142M protected bacteria against MNNG-induced cytotoxicity more effectively than the wild-type AGT, but protection against the less stringent mutagenesis assay was variable. Subtle differences between wild-type AGT and the two mutant variants were further revealed by assaying protection against mutagenesis by more complex alkylating agents, such as N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea and 1-(2-chloro- ethyl)-3-cyclohexyl-1-nitrosourea. Unlike wild-type and V139F, the triple mutant variant, V139F/P140R/L142M was unaffected by the AGT inhibitor, O6-benzylguanine. Wild-type AGT and V139F potentiated the genotoxic effects of DBAs; however, the triple mutant virtually failed to sensitize the bacteria to these agents. These experiments provide evidence that in addition to the active site cysteine at position 145, the proline at position 140 might be important in defining the capacity by which AGTs modulate genotoxicity by environmentally relevant DBAs. The ability of AGTs to activate dibromoalkanes suggests that this DNA repair enzyme could be altered, and if expressed in tumors might be lethal by enhancing the activation of specific chemotherapeutic prodrugs.

Keywords: AGT, O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase; BG, O6- benzylguanine; CCNU, 1-(2-chloroethyl)-3-cyclohexyl-1-nitrosourea; DBAs, dibromoalkanes; DBE, 1,2-dibromoethane (or ethylene dibromide); DBM, dibromomethane; ENU, N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea; GSH, glutathione; MNNG, N-methyl-N′-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine; O6-alkG, O6-alkylguanine; O6-meG, O6-methylguanine.

Journal Article.  4273 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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