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J Mol Biol. 1992 Oct 20;227(4):981-4.

Mutagenicity of a unique apurinic/apyrimidinic site in mammalian cells.

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Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, Institut de Recherches Scientifiques sur le Cancer, Villejuif, France.


Abasic sites are common DNA lesions produced either spontaneously or as a consequence of the action of some genotoxic agent. The mutagenic properties of a unique abasic site replicated in mammalian cells have been studied using a shuttle vector. A plasmid, able to replicate both in mammalian cells and in bacteria, carrying a unique abasic site chemically synthesized has been constructed. After replication in mammalian cells, plasmid DNA was recovered and used to transform bacteria. Mutants were screened without selection pressure by differential hybridization with a labelled oligonucleotide and their DNA was sequenced. A mutation frequency ranging from 1% to 3% was found, depending on the base originally inserted during the vector construction, opposite the abasic site. All the sequenced mutants correspond to single base-pair substitutions targeted at the abasic site. We observed a deficit in guanine incorporation opposite the abasic site, while the three other bases were incorporated with a similar efficiency. The mutational potency of abasic sites was observed without any voluntary preconditioning treatment of mammalian cells in order to induce "SOS" like conditions.

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