Molecular origins of mutational spectra produced by the environmental carcinogen N-nitrosodimethylamine and SN1 chemotherapeutic agents

Amanda L. Armijo, Pennapa Thongaram, Bogdan I. Fedeles, Judy Yau, Jennifer E Kay, Joshua J. Corrigan, Marisa Chancharoen, Supawadee Chawanthayatham, Leona D. Samson, Sebastian E. Carrasco, Bevin P. Engelward, James G. Fox, Robert G. Croy & John M. Essigmann

DNA-methylating environmental carcinogens such as N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) and certain alkylators used in chemotherapy form O6-methylguanine (m6G) as a functionally critical intermediate. NDMA is a multi-organ carcinogen found in contaminated water, polluted air, preserved foods, tobacco products, and many pharmaceuticals. Only ten weeks after exposure to NDMA, neonatally-treated mice experienced elevated mutation frequencies in liver, lung and kidney of ~35-fold, 4-fold, and 2-fold, respectively. High-resolution mutational spectra (HRMS) of liver and lung revealed distinctive patterns dominated by GCAT mutations in 5’-Pu-G-3’ contexts, very similar to human COSMIC mutational signature SBS11. Commonly associated with alkylation damage, SBS11 appears in cancers treated with the DNA alkylator temozolomide (TMZ). When cells derived from the mice were treated with TMZ, N-nitroso-N-methylnitrosourea, and streptozotocin (two other therapeutic methylating agents), all displayed NDMA-like HRMS, indicating mechanistically convergent mutational processes. The role of m6G in shaping the mutational spectrum of NDMA was probed by removing MGMT, the main cellular defense against m6G. MGMT-deficient mice displayed a strikingly enhanced mutant frequency, but identical HRMS, indicating that the mutational properties of these alkylators is likely owed to sequence-specific DNA binding. In sum, the HRMS of m6G-forming agents constitute an early-onset biomarker of exposure to DNA methylating carcinogens and drugs.



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Created: 9th Feb 2023 at 21:50

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