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Cancer Gene Ther. 2003 Aug;10(8):603-10.

Human-yeast chimeric repair protein protects mammalian cells against alkylating agents: enhancement of MGMT protection.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research, Indiana University School of Medicine, 702 Barnhill Dr, Room 2600, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202, USA.


Chemotherapeutic DNA alkylating agents are common weapons employed to fight both pediatric and adult cancers. In addition to cancerous cells, nontarget tissues are subjected to the cytotoxicity of these agents, and dose-limiting toxicity in the form of myelosuppression is a frequent result of treatment. One approach to prevent myelosuppression that results from the use of chemotherapeutic agents is to increase the levels of DNA repair proteins in bone marrow cells. Here we report our second successful attempt to create a fusion protein that possesses both direct reversal and base excision repair pathway DNA repair activities. The chimeric protein is composed of the human O(6)-Methylguanine-DNA Methyltransferase (MGMT) and the yeast Apn1 proteins and retains both MGMT and AP endonuclease activities as determined by biochemical analysis. We have also demonstrated that the chimeric protein is able to protect mammalian cells from the DNA alkylating agents 1,3-bis (2-chloroethyl)-1-nitrosourea (BCNU) and methyl methanesulfonate (MMS). The protection by the chimeric protein against BCNU is even greater than MGMT alone, which has potential translational significance given that MGMT is currently in clinical trials. Additionally, we show that the chimeric MGMT-Apn1 protein can protect mammalian cells from dual treatments of BCNU and MMS and that this effect is greater than that provided by MGMT alone. The data support our previous finding that a protein with multiple DNA repair activities can be constructed and that this and other constructs may play an important clinical role in guarding against dose-limiting effects of chemotherapy, particularly in situations of multiple drug use.

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