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DNA Repair (Amst). 2013 Jan 1;12(1):46-52. doi: 10.1016/j.dnarep.2012.10.006. Epub 2012 Nov 24.

Tissue-specific mismatch repair protein expression: MSH3 is higher than MSH6 in multiple mouse tissues.

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Genetics and Genome Biology, The Hospital for Sick Children, TMDT Building 101 College St., 15th Floor, Room 15-312 East Tower, Toronto, ON, M5G 1L7, Canada.


Mismatch repair (MMR) proteins have critical roles in the maintenance of genomic stability, both class-switch recombination and somatic hypermutation of immunoglobulin genes and disease-associated trinucleotide repeat expansions. In the genetic absence of MMR, certain tissues are predisposed to mutations and cancer. MMR proteins are involved in various functions including protection from replication-associated and non-mitotic mutations, as well as driving programmed and deleterious mutations, including disease-causing trinucleotide repeat expansions. Here we have assessed the levels of MSH2, MSH3, and MSH6 expression in a large number of murine tissues by transcript analysis and simultaneous Western blotting. We observed that MMR expression patterns varied widely between 14 different tissue types, but did not vary with age (13-84 weeks). MMR protein expression is highest in testis, thymus and spleen and lowest in pancreas, quadriceps and heart, with intermediate levels in liver, kidney, intestine, colon, cortex, striatum and cerebellum. By equalizing antibody signal intensity to represent levels found in mMutSα and mMutSβ purified proteins, we observed that mMSH3 protein levels are greater than mMSH6 levels in the multiple tissues analyzed, with more MSH6 in proliferating tissues. In the intestinal epithelium MSH3 and MSH6 are more highly expressed in the proliferative undifferentiated cells of the crypts than in the differentiated villi cells, as reported for MSH2. This finding correlates with the higher level of MMR expression in highly proliferative mouse tissues such as the spleen and thymus. The relative MMR protein expression levels may explain the functional and tissue-specific reliance upon the roles of each MMR protein.

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