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Hum Mol Genet. 1997 Jul;6(7):1117-23.

Human MSH2 binds to trinucleotide repeat DNA structures associated with neurodegenerative diseases.

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Center for Genome Research, Institute of Biosciences and Technology in the Texas Medical Center, Texas A&M University, Houston 77030, USA.


The expansion of trinucleotide repeat sequences is associated with several neurodegenerative diseases. The mechanism of this expansion is unknown but may involve slipped-strand structures where adjacent rather than perfect complementary sequences of a trinucleotide repeat become paired. Here, we have studied the interaction of the human mismatch repair protein MSH2 with slipped-strand structures formed from a triplet repeat sequence in order to address the possible role of MSH2 in trinucleotide expansion. Genomic clones of the myotonic dystrophy locus containing disease-relevant lengths of (CTG)n x (CAG)n triplet repeats were examined. We have constructed two types of slipped-strand structures by annealing complementary strands of DNA containing: (i) equal numbers of trinucleotide repeats (homoduplex slipped structures or S-DNA) or (ii) different numbers of repeats (heteroduplex slipped intermediates or SI-DNA). SI-DNAs having an excess of either CTG or CAG repeats were structurally distinct and could be separated electrophoretically and studied individually. Using a band-shift assay, the MSH2 was shown to bind to both S-DNA and SI-DNA in a structure-specific manner. The affinity of MSH2 increased with the length of the repeat sequence. Furthermore, MSH2 bound preferentially to looped-out CAG repeat sequences, implicating a strand asymmetry in MSH2 recognition. Our results are consistent with the idea that MSH2 may participate in trinucleotide repeat expansion via its role in repair and/or recombination.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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