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Cancer Cell. 2002 Jun;1(5):469-78.

HNPCC mutations in hMSH2 result in reduced hMSH2-hMSH6 molecular switch functions.

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  • 1Genetics and Molecular Biology Program, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107, USA.


Mutations in the human mismatch repair (MMR) gene hMSH2 have been linked to approximately 40% of hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancers (HNPCC). While the consequences of deletion or truncating mutations of hMSH2 would appear clear, the detailed functional defects associated with missense alterations are unknown. We have examined the effect of seven single amino acid substitutions associated with HNPCC that cover the structural subdomains of the hMSH2 protein. We show that alterations which produced a known cancer-causing phenotype affected the mismatch-dependent molecular switch function of the biologically relevant hMSH2-hMSH6 heterodimer. Our observations demonstrate that amino acid substitutions within hMSH2 that are distant from known functional regions significantly alter biochemical activity and the ability of hMSH2-hMSH6 to form a sliding clamp.

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