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Mol Cell Biol. 1998 Oct;18(10):5828-37.

Alkylpurine-DNA-N-glycosylase knockout mice show increased susceptibility to induction of mutations by methyl methanesulfonate.

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CRC Section of Genome Damage and Repair, Paterson Institute for Cancer Research, Christie Hospital (NHS) Trust, Manchester M20 4BX, United Kingdom.


Alkylpurine-DNA-N-glycosylase (APNG) null mice have been generated by homologous recombination in embryonic stem cells. The null status of the animals was confirmed at the mRNA level by reverse transcription-PCR and by the inability of cell extracts of tissues from the knockout (ko) animals to release 3-methyladenine (3-meA) or 7-methylguanine (7-meG) from 3H-methylated calf thymus DNA in vitro. Following treatment with DNA-methylating agents, increased persistence of 7-meG was found in liver sections of APNG ko mice in comparison with wild-type (wt) mice, demonstrating an in vivo phenotype for the APNG null animals. Unlike other null mutants of the base excision repair pathway, the APNG ko mice exhibit a very mild phenotype, show no outward abnormalities, are fertile, and have an apparently normal life span. Neither a difference in the number of leukocytes in peripheral blood nor a difference in the number of bone marrow polychromatic erythrocytes was found when ko and wt mice were exposed to methylating or chloroethylating agents. These agents also showed similar growth-inhibitory effects in primary embryonic fibroblasts isolated from ko and wt mice. However, treatment with methyl methanesulfonate resulted in three- to fourfold more hprt mutations in splenic T lymphocytes from APNG ko mice than in those from wt mice. These mutations were predominantly single-base-pair changes; in the ko mice, they consisted primarily of AT-->TA and GC-->TA transversions, which most likely are caused by 3-meA and 3- or 7-meG, respectively. These results clearly show an important role for APNG in attenuating the mutagenic effects of N-alkylpurines in vivo.

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