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J Exp Med. 2005 Feb 21;201(4):637-45. Epub 2005 Feb 14.

MSH2-MSH6 stimulates DNA polymerase eta, suggesting a role for A:T mutations in antibody genes.

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Radiation Oncology Research Laboratory, Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.


Activation-induced cytidine deaminase deaminates cytosine to uracil (dU) in DNA, which leads to mutations at C:G basepairs in immunoglobulin genes during somatic hypermutation. The mechanism that generates mutations at A:T basepairs, however, remains unclear. It appears to require the MSH2-MSH6 mismatch repair heterodimer and DNA polymerase (pol) eta, as mutations of A:T are decreased in mice and humans lacking these proteins. Here, we demonstrate that these proteins interact physically and functionally. First, we show that MSH2-MSH6 binds to a U:G mismatch but not to other DNA intermediates produced during base excision repair of dUs, including an abasic site and a deoxyribose phosphate group. Second, MSH2 binds to pol eta in solution, and endogenous MSH2 associates with the pol in cell extracts. Third, MSH2-MSH6 stimulates the catalytic activity of pol eta in vitro. These observations suggest that the interaction between MSH2-MSH6 and DNA pol eta stimulates synthesis of mutations at bases located downstream of the initial dU lesion, including A:T pairs.

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