Journal Article

Reduced lung tumorigenesis in human methylguanine DNA—methyltransferase transgenic mice achieved by expression of transgene within the target cell

Lili Liu, Xiusheng Qin and Stanton L. Gerson

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 20, issue 2, pages 279-284
Published in print February 1999 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online February 1999 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/20.2.279
Reduced lung tumorigenesis in human methylguanine DNA—methyltransferase transgenic mice achieved by expression of transgene within the target cell

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Human methylguanine–DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) transgenic mice expressing high levels of O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (AGT) in lung were crossbred to A/J mice that are susceptible to pulmonary adenoma to study the impact of O6-methylguanine (O6mG)–DNA adduct repair on NNK-induced lung tumorigenesis. Expression of the chimeric human MGMT transgene in lung was identified by northern and western blot analysis, immunohistochemistry assay and enzymatic assay. AGT activity was 17.6 ± 3.2 versus 1.2 ± 0.4 fmol/μg DNA in lung of MGMT transgenic mice compared with non-transgenic mice. Immunohistochemical staining with anti-human AGT antibody showed that human AGT was expressed throughout the lung. However, some epithelial cells of bronchi and alveoli did not stain for human AGT, suggesting that the human MGMT transgene expression was heterogeneous. After 100 mg/kg NNK i.p. injection in MGMT transgenic mice, lung AGT activity remained much higher and levels of lung O6mG–DNA adducts in MGMT transgenic mice were lower than those of non-transgenic mice. In the tumorigenesis study, mice received 100 mg/kg NNK at 6 weeks of age and were killed 44 weeks later. Ten of 17 MGMT transgenic mice compared with 16 of 17 non-transgenic mice had lung tumors, P < 0.05. MGMT transgenic mice had lower multiplicity and smaller sized lung tumors than non-transgenic mice. Moreover, a reduction in the frequency of K-ras mutations in lung tumors was found in MGMT transgenic mice (6.7 versus 50% in non-transgenic mice). These results indicate that high levels of AGT expressed in mouse lung reduce lung tissue susceptibility to NNK-induced tumorigenesis due to increased repair capacity for O6mG, subsequently, decreased mutational activation of K-ras oncogene. Heterogeneity in the level of AGT expressed in different lung cell populations or other forms of carcinogenic DNA damage caused by NNK may explain the residual incidence of lung tumors in MGMT transgenic mice.

Keywords: AGT, alkyltransferase; ECL, enhanced chemiluminescence; hAGT, human AGT; hMGMT, human MGMT; MGMT, O6-methylguanine–DNA methyltransferase; MNU, N-methylnitrosourea; NNK, 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone; O6mG, O6-methylguanine; PBS, phosphate-buffered saline; TBS, Tris-buffered saline.

Journal Article.  4389 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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