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Mutat Res. 2009 Mar 9;662(1-2):59-66. doi: 10.1016/j.mrfmmm.2008.12.006. Epub 2008 Dec 24.

DNA mismatch repair efficiency and fidelity are elevated during DNA synthesis in human cells.

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Department of Biology, The University of Findlay, Findlay, OH 45840, United States.


DNA mismatch repair (MMR) within human cells is hypothesized to occur primarily at the replication fork. However, experimental models measuring MMR activity at specific phases of the cell cycle and during genomic DNA synthesis are lacking. We have investigated MMR activity within the nuclear environment of HeLa cells after enriching for G1, S and G2/M phase of the cell cycle by centrifugal elutriation. This approach preserves physiologically normal MMR activity in cell populations subdivided into different phases of the cell cycle. Here we have shown that nuclear protein concentration of hMutSalpha and hMutLalpha increases as cells progress into S phase during routine cell culture. MMR activity, as measured by both in vitro and in vivo approaches, increases during S phase to the highest extent within normally growing cells. Both fidelity and activity of MMR are highest on actively replicating templates within intact cells during S phase. The MMR pathway however, is also active at lower levels at other phases of the cell cycle, and on nonreplicating templates.

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