Journal Article

Quantitative trait locus analysis reveals two intragenic sites that influence <i>O</i><sup>6</sup>-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase activity in peripheral blood mononuclear cells

Geoffrey P. Margison, Jim Heighway, Steven Pearson, Gail McGown, Mary R. Thorncroft, Amanda J. Watson, Kathryn L. Harrison, Sarah J. Lewis, Klaus Rohde, Philip V. Barber, Paul O'Donnell, Andrew C. Povey and Mauro F. Santibáñez-Koref

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 26, issue 8, pages 1473-1480
Published in print August 2005 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online April 2005 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
Quantitative trait locus analysis reveals two intragenic sites that influence O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase activity in peripheral blood mononuclear cells

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The repair of specific types of DNA alkylation damage by O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (MGMT) is a major mechanism of resistance to the carcinogenic and chemotherapeutic effects of certain alkylating agents. MGMT expression levels vary widely between individuals but the underlying causes of this variability are not known. To address this, we used an expressed single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and demonstrated that the MGMT alleles are frequently expressed at different levels in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). This suggests that there is a genetic component of inter-allelic variation of MGMT levels that maps close to or within the MGMT locus. We then used quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis using intragenic SNPs and found that there are at least two sites influencing inter-individual variation in PBMC MGMT activity. One is characterized by an SNP at the 3′ end of the first intron and the second by two SNPs in the last exon. The latter are in perfect disequilibrium and both result in amino acid substitutions—one of them, Ile143Val, affecting an amino acid close to the Cys145 residue at the active site of MGMT. Using in vitro assays, we further showed that while the Val143 variant did not affect the activity of the protein on methylated DNA substrate, it was more resistant to inactivation by the MGMT pseudosubstrate, O6-(4-bromothenyl)guanine. These findings suggest that further investigations of the potential epidemiological and clinical significance of inherited differences in MGMT expression and activity are warranted.

Keywords: AEI, allelic expression imbalance; MGMT, O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase; E.C.; PBMC, peripheral blood mononuclear cell; QTL, quantitative trait locus; SNP, single nucleotide polymorphism

Journal Article.  6160 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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