The most versatile cellular pathway for dealing with a large variety of structurally-unrelated DNA alterations is nucleotide excision repair (NER). Most genomic damage, if not repaired, may contribute to mutagenesis and carcinogenesis, as well as to cellular lethality. There are two subpathways of NER, termed global genomic repair (GGR) and transcription-coupled repair (TCR); While GGR deals with all repairable lesions throughout the genome, TCR is selective for the transcribed DNA strand in expressed genes. Proteins involved in the initial recognition of lesions for GGR as well as for TCR (i.e. RNA polymerase) may sometimes initiate gratuitous repair events in undamaged DNA. However, the damage recognition enzymes for GGR are normally maintained at very low levels unless the cells are genomically stressed. Following UV irradiation in human fibroblasts the efficiency of GGR is upregulated through activation of the p53 tumor suppressor gene. The transactivation role of p53 includes control of expression of the genes, XPC and XPE, which are implicated in GGR but not TCR. These inducible responses are essential for the efficient repair of the most prominent lesion produced by UV, the cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer (CPD). They are also clinically relevant, as we have shown them to operate upon chemical carcinogen DNA damage at levels to which humans are environmentally exposed (e.g. through smoking). Thus, for benzo(a)pyrene (at 10-50 adducts per 10(8) nucleotides) repair was essentially complete within 1 day in p53(+/+) human fibroblasts while no repair was detected within 3 days in p53(-/-) cells. The levels of all four DNA adducts formed by benzo(g)chrysene, also exhibited p53-dependent control in human fibroblasts. However, unlike humans most rodent tissues are deficient in the p53-dependent GGR pathway. Since rodents are used as surrogates for humans in environmental cancer risk assessment it is very important that we determine how they differ from humans with respect to DNA repair and oncogenic responses to environmental genotoxins.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.mrrev.2003.06.002
View details for PubMedID 14644313