MUTYH mediates the toxicity of combined DNA 6-thioguanine and UVA radiation


The therapeutic thiopurines, including the immunosuppressant azathioprine (Aza) cause the accumulation of the UVA photosensitizer 6-thioguanine (6-TG) in the DNA of the patients' cells. DNA 6-TG and UVA are synergistically cytotoxic and their interaction causes oxidative damage. The MUTYH DNA glycosylase participates in the base excision repair of oxidized DNA bases. Using Mutyh-nullmouse fibroblasts (MEFs) we examined whether MUTYH provides protection against the lethal effects of combined DNA 6-TG/UVA. Surprisingly, Mutyh-null MEFs were more resistant than wild-type MEFs, despite accumulating higher levels of DNA 8-oxo-7,8-dihydroguanine (8-oxoG).Their enhanced 6-TG/UVA resistance reflected the absence of the MUTYH protein and MEFs expressing enzymatically-dead human variants were as sensitive as wild-type cells. Consistent with their enhanced resistance, Mutyh-null cells sustained fewer DNA strand breaks and lower levels of chromosomal damage after 6-TG/UVA. Although 6-TG/UVA treatment caused early checkpoint activation irrespective of the MUTYH status, Mutyh-null cells failed to arrest in S-phase at late time points. MUTYH-dependent toxicity was also apparent in vivo. Mutyh-/- mice survived better than wild-type during a 12-month chronicexposure to Aza/UVA treatments that significantly increased levels of skin DNA 8-oxoG. Two squamous cell skin carcinomas arose in Aza/UVA treated Mutyh-/- mice whereas similarly treated wild-type animals remained tumor-free.

Journal details

Journal Oncotarget
Volume 6
Issue number 10
Pages 7481-7492
Publication date


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