Human-yeast chimeric repair protein protects mammalian cells against alkylating agents: Enhancement of MGMT protection

Timothy J. Roth, Yi Xu, Meihua Luo, Mark R. Kelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Chemotherapeutic DNA alkylating agents are common weapons employed to fight both pediatric and adult cancers. In addition to cancerous cells, nontarget tissues are subjected to the cytotoxicity of these agents, and dose-limiting toxicity in the form of myelosuppression is a frequent result of treatment. One approach to prevent myelosuppression that results from the use of chemotherapeutic agents is to increase the levels of DNA repair proteins in bone marrow cells. Here we report our second successful attempt to create a fusion protein that possesses both direct reversal and base excision repair pathway DNA repair activities. The chimeric protein is composed of the human O6-Methylguanine-DNA Methyltransferase (MGMT) and the yeast Apn1 proteins and retains both MGMT and AP endonuclease activities as determined by biochemical analysis. We have also demonstrated that the chimeric protein is able to protect mammalian cells from the DNA alkylating agents 1,3-bis (2-chloroethyl)-1-nitrosourea (BCNU) and methyl methanesulfonate (MMS). The protection by the chimeric protein against BCNU is even greater than MGMT alone, which has potential translational significance given that MGMT is currently in clinical trials. Additionally, we show that the chimeric MGMT-Apn1 protein can protect mammalian cells from dual treatments of BCNU and MMS and that this effect is greater than that provided by MGMT alone. The data support our previous finding that a protein with multiple DNA repair activities can be constructed and that this and other constructs may play an important clinical role in guarding against dose-limiting effects of chemotherapy, particularly in situations of multiple drug use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)603-610
Number of pages8
JournalCancer gene therapy
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003


  • Apn1
  • Base excision repair
  • MGMT
  • Translational

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Genetics

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