Evidence that error-prone DNA repair converts dibenzo[a,l]pyrene-induced depurinating lesions into mutations: Formation, clonal proliferation and regression of initiated cells carrying H-ras oncogene mutations in early preneoplasia

Dhrubajyoti Chakravarti, Paula C. Mailander, Ercole Cavalieri, Eleanor G Rogan

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63 Scopus citations


Initiation of skin tumors in mice is associated with the formation of oncogenic mutations in the H-ras gene. Mice treated on the dorsal skin with the potent polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) carcinogen dibenzo[a,l]pyrene (DB[a,l]P) form papillomas carrying the H-ras codon 61 (CAA to CTA) mutations. These mutations are induced in early preneoplastic skin within 1 day after DB[a,l]P treatment (Oncogene 16 (1998) 3203-3210) and appear to be related to DB[a,l]P-Ade-depurinating adducts (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 92 (1995) 10422-10426). The rapid kinetics of mutation induction suggests that abasic sites generated from base depurination may undergo error-prone excision repair in pre-S-phase cells to induce these mutations. Analysis of mutations in the H-ras exon 1 and 2 region in DB[a,l]P-treated early preneoplastic skin indicated great changes in mutation spectra in the preneoplastic period. The initial spectra contained abundant A→G mutations, which frequently occurred 3' to a putative conserved sequence (TGN-doublet). These mutations appeared to be induced initially as mismatched (G.T) heteroduplexes and then converted into double-stranded mutations by one round of replication. Unlike the A→G mutations found in DB[a,l]P-treated skin (which forms 99% depurinating adducts), A→G mutations found in anti-DB[a,l]P-diol epoxide-treated skin (forms 97% stable adducts) did not appear to be G.T heteroduplexes. These results, therefore, suggest that under these conditions, the repair errors occurred only from abasic sites but not from stable adducts. Initiated cells carrying specific oncogenic mutations, formed presumably by misrepair, underwent rapid clonal expansion and regression (transient clonoplasia). The multiplication of initiated stem cells during transient clonoplasia may be a factor determining the tumor-initiating potential of some PAH carcinogens. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-32
Number of pages16
JournalMutation Research - Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 30 2000



  • Anti-dibenzo[a,l]pyrene-diol epoxide
  • DNA repair
  • Dibenzo[a,l]pyrene
  • H-ras mutation
  • Mismatched heteroduplex
  • SENCAR mouse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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