A specific mismatch repair event protects mammalian cells from loss of 5-methylcytosine
Brown TC., Jiricny J.
5-Methylcytosine spontaneously deaminates to form thymine, thus generating G/T mispairs in DNA. We investigated the way in which these lesions are addressed in mammalian cells by introducing specific G/T mispairs into the genome of SV40 and determining the fate of the mismatched bases in simian cells. Mispairs were incorporated in 12 bp synthetic duplexes ligated into SV40 DNA between the BstXI and Taql restriction sites. Analysis of 347 plaques obtained after transfection of this modified DNA indicated that mispairs were corrected in 343 cases (99%), revealing 314 repair events in favor of guanine (90%) and 29 in favor of thymine (8%). Correction in favor of guanine occurred regardless of the orientation fo the mispair in DNA and regardless of whether the mispair was in the commonly methylated CpG dinucleotide. These results attest to a specific mismatch repair pathway that restores G/C pairs lost through deamination of 5-methylcytosine residues. © 1987.