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PLoS One. 2018 Mar 9;13(3):e0193823. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0193823. eCollection 2018.

Yeast-based assays for characterization of the functional effects of single nucleotide polymorphisms in human DNA repair genes.

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Department of Biomedical Science, College of Life Science, CHA University, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea.
Department of Life Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.


DNA repair mechanisms maintain genomic integrity upon exposure to various types of DNA damage, which cause either single- or double-strand breaks in the DNA. Here, we propose a strategy for the functional study of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the human DNA repair genes XPD/ERCC2, RAD18, and KU70/XRCC6 and the checkpoint activation gene ATR that are essentially involved in the cell cycle and DNA damage repair. We analyzed the mutational effects of the DNA repair genes under DNA-damaging conditions, including ultraviolet irradiation and treatment with genotoxic reagents, using a Saccharomyces cerevisiae system to overcome the limitations of the human cell-based assay. We identified causal variants from selected SNPs in the present analyses. (i) R594C SNP in RAD3 (human XPD/ERCC2) caused severe reductions in the growth rate of mutant cells upon short-wavelength UV irradiation or chemical reagent treatment. (ii) The growth rates of the selected variants in RAD18, YKU70, and MEC1 were similar to those of wild-type cells on methyl methanesulfonate and hydroxyurea treated media. (iii) We also assessed the structural impact of the SNPs by analyzing differences in the structural conformation and calculating the root mean square deviation, which is a measure of the discordance of the Cα atoms between protein structures. Based on the above results, we propose that these analytical approaches serve as efficient methods for the identification of causal variants of human disease-causing genes and elucidation of yeast-cell based molecular mechanisms.

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