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Environ Mol Mutagen. 1998;31(1):82-91.

Influence of DNA repair by (A)BC excinuclease and Ogt alkyltransferase on the distribution of mutations induced by n-propyl-N-nitrosourea in Escherichia coli.

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Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular, Universidad de Córdoba, España.


In the absence of nucleotide excision repair, the additional deficiency of the DNA alkyltransferase (ATase) encoded by the constitutive ogt gene of Escherichia coli caused a marked increment in mutation induction by N-propyl-N-nitrosourea (PNU). Irrespective of the presence or the absence of the Ogt ATase, little mutagenic response was detected in Uvr+ bacteria in the concentration range 0-8 mM PNU, indicating that most premutagenic DNA lesions induced at these concentrations are efficiently recognized and repaired by the nucleotide excision repair system. Some increased susceptibility to mutagenesis by PNU was detected in Uvr- Ogt+ bacteria, but the Uvr- Ogt- double mutant exhibited much higher sensitivity. These data suggest that the Ogt ATase can replace to a great extent the repair capacity of the (A)BC excinuclease. Forward mutations induced by 6 mM PNU within the initial part of the lacl gene were recovered from Uvr+ Ogt-, Uvr- Ogt+, and Uvr- Ogt- bacteria. A total of 439 independent mutations were characterized by DNA sequence analysis. The PNU-induced spectra were dominated by G:C-->A:T transitions, consistent with the major role of the O6-alkylguanine miscoding lesion in mutagenesis by alkylating agents. Specific sites for G:C-->A:T transitions were recovered more or less frequently in one genetic background versus the others, giving statistically significant differences among the spectra (P < 10(-6)). We examined the influence of DNA repair by (A)BC excinuclease and Ogt ATase on the 5'-flanking base and DNA-strand associated with the PNU-induced G:C-->A:T transitions. Preferences different from those previously reported for the ethylating (ENU) and methylating (MNU) analogs were detected. We indicate that these differences might be caused by the PNU possibility of giving iso-propyl adducts, in addition to the expected n-propyl adducts, and by possible preferences in the initial distribution of these lesions as well as in their repair by the (A)BC excinuclease and the Ogt ATase of E. coli.

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