We initiated this study to determine whether three structurally related bifunctional alkylating agents could induce the expression of a presumptive human DNA repair gene. The gene chosen for this study is known to encode the ribosomal phosphoprotein PO, but ironically may also share functions related to DNA repair. We now show by Northern analysis that PO is induced by L-phenylalanine mustard, 4-hydroperoxycyclophosphamide and mechlorethamine, which are DNA-damaging agents commonly used as chemotherapeutic antitumor agents. In further support of its involvement in DNA repair is the finding of a 30- to 50-fold constitutive overexpression of the PO gene in human tumor cell lines that are Mer-, cells which lack O6-methylguanine methyltransferase activity, when compared to Mer+ cell lines. This constitutively elevated level of PO in Mer- cell lines, which are thus DNA repair defective for O6-alkyguanine lesions, was not observed for other genes tested, including the human ribosomal gene S17 whose mRNA steady-state levels were uniformly the same in both Mer- and Mer+ cells. Taking these data together, it appears that increased levels of PO are somehow linked to DNA repair, and increased expression of PO may compensate for the decreased O6-methylguanine DNA methyltransferase activity in Mer- cells. Furthermore, the PO gene has also been shown to be overexpressed in colorectal tumors and polyps and the sera of some systemic lupus erythematosus patients contain antibodies against PO. The titer of the anti-PO antibodies rises significantly during lupus psychosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research