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Biochemistry. 1997 Mar 4;36(9):2501-6.

Cytotoxic mechanism of 6-thioguanine: hMutSalpha, the human mismatch binding heterodimer, binds to DNA containing S6-methylthioguanine.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University College London, U.K.


It has been suggested that the cytotoxicity of 6-thioguanine depends upon (1) incorporation of 6-thioguanine into DNA, (2) methylation by S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) of the thio group to give S6-methylthioguanine, (3) miscoding during DNA replication to give [SMeG] x T base pairs, and (4) recognition of these base pairs by proteins of the postreplicative mismatch repair system. Here we have investigated systematically the ability of proteins present in human cell extracts to bind to DNA containing S6-methylthioguanine. We found that [SMeG] x T base mismatches were bound by the mismatch binding complex, hMutS alpha, and that the level of binding was dependent upon the base 5' to the S6-methylthioguanine in the order G > C = A > T. Extracts from cells that lack either hMSH2 (LoVo cells) or GTBP (HCT-15 cells), two components of the hMutS alpha complex, were unable to bind the [SMeG] x T base pair. We also found that hMutS alpha was able to bind to [SMeG] x C base pairs when the S6-methylthioguanine was in the sequence 5'-Cp[SMeG]. This suggests that miscoding by S6-methylthioguanine residues in DNA during DNA synthesis may not be an absolutely required step in the mechanism of cytotoxicity. Also, since CpG sequences are so important in gene regulation, this result may be of considerable significance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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