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Mutagenesis. 2014 Jan;29(1):27-36. doi: 10.1093/mutage/get054. Epub 2013 Nov 16.

Ochratoxin A induces DNA double-strand breaks and large deletion mutations in the carcinogenic target site of gpt delta rats.

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  • 1Division of Pathology.


Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a carcinogen targeting proximal tubules at the renal outer medulla (ROM) in rodents. We previously reported that OTA increased mutant frequencies of the red/gam gene (Spi(-)), primarily deletion mutations. In the present study, Spi(-) assays and mutation spectrum analyses in the Spi(-) mutants were performed using additional samples collected in our previous study. Spi(-) assay results were similar to those in our previous study, revealing large (>1kb) deletion mutations in the red/gam gene. To clarify the molecular progression from DNA damage to gene mutations, in vivo comet assays and analysis of DNA damage/repair-related mRNA and/or protein expression was performed using the ROM of gpt delta rats treated with OTA at 70, 210 or 630 µg/kg/day by gavage for 4 weeks. Western blotting and immunohistochemical staining demonstrated that OTA increased γ-H2AX expression specifically at the carcinogenic target site. In view of the results of comet assays, we suspected that OTA was capable of inducing double-strand breaks (DSBs) at the target sites. mRNA and/or protein expression levels of homologous recombination (HR) repair-related genes (Rad51, Rad18 and Brip1), but not nonhomologous end joining-related genes, were increased in response to OTA in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, dramatic increases in the expression of genes involved in G2/M arrest (Chek1 and Wee1) and S/G2 phase (Ccna2 and Cdk1) were observed, suggesting that DSBs induced by OTA were repaired predominantly by HR repair, possibly due to OTA-specific cell cycle regulation, consequently producing large deletion mutations at the carcinogenic target site.

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