dNTPs: the alphabet of life
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
From microscopic bacteria to the giant whale, every single living organism on Earth uses the same language of life: DNA. Deoxyribonucleoside triphosphates––dNTPs (dATP, dTTP, dGTP, and dCTP)––are the building blocks of DNA and are therefore the “alphabet of life”. A balanced supply of dNTPs is essential for integral DNA transactions such as faithful genome duplication and repair. The enzyme ribonucleotide reductase (RNR) not only synthesizes all four dNTPs but also primarily maintains the crucial individual concentration of each dNTP in a cell. In this thesis we investigated what happens if the crucial balanced supply of dNTPs is disrupted, addressing whether a cell has a mechanism to detect imbalanced dNTP pools and whether all pool imbalances are equally mutagenic.
To address these questions, we introduced single amino acid substitutions into loop 2 of the allosteric specificity site of Saccharomyces cerevisiae RNR and obtained a collection of yeast strains with different but defined dNTP pool imbalances. These results directly confirmed that the loop 2 is the structural link between the substrate specificity and effector binding sites of RNR. We were surprised to observe that mutagenesis was enhanced even in a strain with mildly imbalanced dNTP pools, despite the availability of the two major replication error correction mechanisms: proofreading and mismatch repair. However, the mutagenic potential of different dNTP pool imbalances did not directly correlate with their severity, and the locations of the mutations in a strain with elevated dTTP and dCTP were completely different from those in a strain with elevated dATP and dGTP. We then investigated, whether dNTP pool imbalances interfere with cell cycle progression and if they are detected by the S-phase checkpoint, a genome surveillance mechanism activated in response to DNA damage or replication blocks. The S-phase checkpoint was activated by the depletion of one or more dNTPs. In contrast, when none of the dNTP pools was limiting for DNA replication, even extreme and mutagenic dNTP pool imbalances did not activate the S-phase checkpoint and did not interfere with the cell cycle progression. We also observed an interesting mutational strand bias in one of the mutant rnr1 strains suggesting that the S-phase checkpoint may selectively prevent formation of replication errors during leading strand replication. We further used these strains to study the mechanisms by which dNTP pool imbalances induce genome instability. In addition, we discovered that a high dNTP concentration allows replicative DNA polymerases to bypass certain DNA lesions, which are difficult to bypass at normal dNTP concentrations.
Our results broaden the role of dNTPs beyond ‘dNTPs as the building blocks’ and suggest that dNTPs are not only the building blocks of DNA but also that their concentrations in a cell have regulatory implications for maintaining genomic integrity. This is important as all cancers arise as a result of some kind of genomic abnormality.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå university , 2010. , 37 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1363
ribonucleotide reductase, dNTP pools, s-phase checkpoint, mutagenesis
Research subject Medical Biochemistry
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-35388ISBN: 978-91-7459-045-6OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-35388DiVA: diva2:343962
2010-09-09, KB3A9, KBC, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 21:51 (English)
Sjöberg, Britt-Marie, Professor
Chabes, Andrei, Docent
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