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J Mol Biol. 1988 May 20;201(2):239-46.

Oxidative damage in DNA. Lack of mutagenicity by thymine glycol lesions.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Rochester, School of Medicine and Dentistry, NY 14642.


Thymine glycol (5,6-dihydroxy-5,6-dihydrothymine) is a base damage common to oxidative mutagens and the major stable radiolysis product of thymine in DNA. We assessed the mutagenic potential of thymine glycols in single-stranded bacteriophage DNA during transfection of Escherichia coli wild-type and umuC strains. cis-Thymine glycols were induced in DNA by reaction with the chemical oxidant, osmium tetroxide (OsO4); modification of thymines was quantitated by using anti-thymine glycol antibody. Inactivation of transfecting molecules showed that one lethal hit corresponded to 1.5 to 2.1 thymine glycols per phage DNA in normal cells, whereas conditions of W-reactivation (SOS induction) reversed 60 to 80% of inactivating events. Forward mutations in the lacI and lacZ' (alpha) genes of f1 and M13 hybrid phage DNAs were induced in OsO4-treated DNA in a dose-dependent manner, in both wild-type and umuC cells. Sequence analysis of hybrid phage mutants revealed that mutations occurred preferentially at cytosine sites rather than thymine sites, indicating that thymine glycols were not the principal pre-mutagenic lesions in the single-stranded DNA. A mutagenic specificity for C----T transitions was confirmed by OsO4-induced reversion of mutant lac phage. Pathways for mutagenesis at derivatives of oxidized cytosine are discussed.

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