Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
PLoS Genet. 2008 Sep 12;4(9):e1000189. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000189.

Human MLH1 protein participates in genomic damage checkpoint signaling in response to DNA interstrand crosslinks, while MSH2 functions in DNA repair.

Author information

  • 1Department of Carcinogenesis, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Science Park-Research Division, Smithville, Texas, United States of America.


DNA interstrand crosslinks (ICLs) are among the most toxic types of damage to a cell. For this reason, many ICL-inducing agents are effective therapeutic agents. For example, cisplatin and nitrogen mustards are used for treating cancer and psoralen plus UVA (PUVA) is useful for treating psoriasis. However, repair mechanisms for ICLs in the human genome are not clearly defined. Previously, we have shown that MSH2, the common subunit of the human MutSalpha and MutSbeta mismatch recognition complexes, plays a role in the error-free repair of psoralen ICLs. We hypothesized that MLH1, the common subunit of human MutL complexes, is also involved in the cellular response to psoralen ICLs. Surprisingly, we instead found that MLH1-deficient human cells are more resistant to psoralen ICLs, in contrast to the sensitivity to these lesions displayed by MSH2-deficient cells. Apoptosis was not as efficiently induced by psoralen ICLs in MLH1-deficient cells as in MLH1-proficient cells as determined by caspase-3/7 activity and binding of annexin V. Strikingly, CHK2 phosphorylation was undetectable in MLH1-deficient cells, and phosphorylation of CHK1 was reduced after PUVA treatment, indicating that MLH1 is involved in signaling psoralen ICL-induced checkpoint activation. Psoralen ICLs can result in mutations near the crosslinked sites; however, MLH1 function was not required for the mutagenic repair of these lesions, and so its signaling function appears to have a role in maintaining genomic stability following exposure to ICL-induced DNA damage. Distinguishing the genetic status of MMR-deficient tumors as MSH2-deficient or MLH1-deficient is thus potentially important in predicting the efficacy of treatment with psoralen and perhaps with other ICL-inducing agents.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk