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Mutagenesis. 2012 Nov;27(6):683-91. doi: 10.1093/mutage/ges034. Epub 2012 Aug 21.

DNA polymerase β variant Ile260Met generates global gene expression changes related to cellular transformation.

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Department of Therapeutic Radiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Maintenance of genomic stability is essential for cellular survival. The base excision repair (BER) pathway is critical for resolution of abasic sites and damaged bases, estimated to occur 20,000 times in cells daily. DNA polymerase β (Pol β) participates in BER by filling DNA gaps that result from excision of damaged bases. Approximately 30% of human tumours express Pol β variants, many of which have altered fidelity and activity in vitro and when expressed, induce cellular transformation. The prostate tumour variant Ile260Met transforms cells and is a sequence-context-dependent mutator. To test the hypothesis that mutations induced in vivo by Ile260Met lead to cellular transformation, we characterized the genome-wide expression profile of a clone expressing Ile260Met as compared with its non-induced counterpart. Using a 1.5-fold minimum cut-off with a false discovery rate (FDR) of <0.05, 912 genes exhibit altered expression. Microarray results were confirmed by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and revealed unique expression profiles in other clones. Gene Ontology (GO) clusters were analyzed using Ingenuity Pathways Analysis to identify altered gene networks and associated nodes. We determined three nodes of interest that exhibited dysfunctional regulation of downstream gene products without themselves having altered expression. One node, peroxisome proliferator-activated protein γ (PPARG), was sequenced and found to contain a coding region mutation in PPARG2 only in transformed cells. Further analysis suggests that this mutation leads to dominant negative activity of PPARG2. PPARG is a transcription factor implicated to have tumour suppressor function. This suggests that the PPARG2 mutant may have played a role in driving cellular transformation. We conclude that PPARG induces cellular transformation by a mutational mechanism.

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