MutS? abundance and Msh3 ATP hydrolysis activity are important drivers of CTG•CAG repeat expansions.
ABSTRACT: CTG•CAG repeat expansions cause at least twelve inherited neurological diseases. Expansions require the presence, not the absence, of the mismatch repair protein MutS? (Msh2-Msh3 heterodimer). To evaluate properties of MutS? that drive expansions, previous studies have tested under-expression, ATPase function or polymorphic variants of Msh2 and Msh3, but in disparate experimental systems. Additionally, some variants destabilize MutS?, potentially masking the effects of biochemical alterations of the variations. Here, human Msh3 was mutated to selectively inactivate MutS?. Msh3-/- cells are severely defective for CTG•CAG repeat expansions but show full activity on contractions. Msh3-/- cells provide a single, isogenic system to add back Msh3 and test key biochemical features of MutS? on expansions. Msh3 overexpression led to high expansion activity and elevated levels of MutS? complex, indicating that MutS? abundance drives expansions. An ATPase-defective Msh3 expressed at normal levels was as defective in expansions as Msh3-/- cells, indicating that Msh3 ATPase function is critical for expansions. Expression of two Msh3 polymorphic variants at normal levels showed no detectable change in expansions, suggesting these polymorphisms primarily affect Msh3 protein stability, not activity. In summary, CTG•CAG expansions are limited by the abundance of MutS? and rely heavily on Msh3 ATPase function.
Project description:Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is associated with one of the most highly unstable CTG*CAG repeat expansions. The formation of further repeat expansions in transgenic mice carrying expanded CTG*CAG tracts requires the mismatch repair (MMR) proteins MSH2 and MSH3, forming the MutSbeta complex. It has been proposed that binding of MutSbeta to CAG hairpins blocks its ATPase activity compromising hairpin repair, thereby causing expansions. This would suggest that binding, but not ATP hydrolysis, by MutSbeta is critical for trinucleotide expansions. However, it is unknown if the MSH2 ATPase activity is dispensible for instability. To get insight into the mechanism by which MSH2 generates trinucleotide expansions, we crossed DM1 transgenic mice carrying a highly unstable >(CTG)(300) repeat tract with mice carrying the G674A mutation in the MSH2 ATPase domain. This mutation impairs MSH2 ATPase activity and ablates base-base MMR, but does not affect the ability of MSH2 (associated with MSH6) to bind DNA mismatches. We found that the ATPase domain mutation of MSH2 strongly affects the formation of CTG expansions and leads instead to transmitted contractions, similar to a Msh2-null or Msh3-null deficiency. While a decrease in MSH2 protein level was observed in tissues from Msh2(G674) mice, the dramatic reduction of expansions suggests that the expansion-biased trinucleotide repeat instability requires a functional MSH2 ATPase domain and probably a functional MMR system.
Project description:Trinucleotide repeat (TNR) expansions cause at least 17 heritable neurological diseases, including Huntington's disease. Expansions are thought to arise from abnormal processing of TNR DNA by specific trans-acting proteins. For example, the DNA repair complex MutS? (MSH2-MSH3 heterodimer) is required in mice for on-going expansions of long, disease-causing alleles. A distinctive feature of TNR expansions is a threshold effect, a narrow range of repeat units (?30-40 in humans) at which mutation frequency rises dramatically and disease can initiate. The goal of this study was to identify factors that promote expansion of threshold-length CTG•CAG repeats in a human astrocytic cell line. siRNA knockdown of the MutS? subunits MSH2 or MSH3 impeded expansions of threshold-length repeats, while knockdown of the MutS? subunit MSH6 had no effect. Chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments indicated that MutS?, but not MutS?, was enriched at the TNR. These findings imply a direct role for MutS? in promoting expansion of threshold-length CTG•CAG tracts. We identified the class II deacetylase HDAC5 as a novel promoting factor for expansions, joining the class I deacetylase HDAC3 that was previously identified. Double knockdowns were consistent with the possibility that MutS?, HDAC3 and HDAC5 act through a common pathway to promote expansions of threshold-length TNRs.
Project description:Trinucleotide repeat expansion disorders (TRED) are caused by genomic expansions of trinucleotide repeats, such as CTG and CAG. These expanded repeats are unstable in germline and somatic cells, with potential consequences for disease severity. Previous studies have demonstrated the involvement of DNA repair proteins in repeat instability, although the key factors affecting large repeat expansion and contraction are unclear. Here we investigated these factors in a human cell model harboring 800 CTG•CAG repeats by individually knocking down various DNA repair proteins using short interfering RNA. Knockdown of MSH2 and MSH3, which form the MutS? heterodimer and function in mismatch repair, suppressed large repeat expansions, whereas knockdown of MSH6, which forms the MutS? heterodimer with MSH2, promoted large expansions exceeding 200 repeats by compensatory increases in MSH3 and the MutS? complex. Knockdown of topoisomerase 1 (TOP1) and TDP1, which are involved in single-strand break repair, enhanced large repeat contractions. Furthermore, knockdown of senataxin, an RNA/DNA helicase which affects DNA:RNA hybrid formation and transcription-coupled nucleotide excision repair, exacerbated repeat instability in both directions. These results indicate that DNA repair factors, such as MutS? play important roles in large repeat expansion and contraction, and can be an excellent therapeutic target for TRED.
Project description:Trinucleotide repeat (TNR) expansions are the underlying cause of more than 40 neurodegenerative and neuromuscular diseases, including myotonic dystrophy and Huntington's disease. Although genetic evidence points to errors in DNA replication and/or repair as the cause of these diseases, clear molecular mechanisms have not been described. Here, we focused on the role of the mismatch repair complex Msh2-Msh3 in promoting TNR expansions. We demonstrate that Msh2-Msh3 promotes CTG and CAG repeat expansions in vivo in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Furthermore, we provide biochemical evidence that Msh2-Msh3 directly interferes with normal Okazaki fragment processing by flap endonuclease1 (Rad27) and DNA ligase I (Cdc9) in the presence of TNR sequences, thereby producing small, incremental expansion events. We believe that this is the first mechanistic evidence showing the interplay of replication and repair proteins in the expansion of sequences during lagging-strand DNA replication.
Project description:Expansions of trinucleotide CAG/CTG repeats in somatic tissues are thought to contribute to ongoing disease progression through an affected individual's life with Huntington's disease or myotonic dystrophy. Broad ranges of repeat instability arise between individuals with expanded repeats, suggesting the existence of modifiers of repeat instability. Mice with expanded CAG/CTG repeats show variable levels of instability depending upon mouse strain. However, to date the genetic modifiers underlying these differences have not been identified. We show that in liver and striatum the R6/1 Huntington's disease (HD) (CAG)?100 transgene, when present in a congenic C57BL/6J (B6) background, incurred expansion-biased repeat mutations, whereas the repeat was stable in a congenic BALB/cByJ (CBy) background. Reciprocal congenic mice revealed the Msh3 gene as the determinant for the differences in repeat instability. Expansion bias was observed in congenic mice homozygous for the B6 Msh3 gene on a CBy background, while the CAG tract was stabilized in congenics homozygous for the CBy Msh3 gene on a B6 background. The CAG stabilization was as dramatic as genetic deficiency of Msh2. The B6 and CBy Msh3 genes had identical promoters but differed in coding regions and showed strikingly different protein levels. B6 MSH3 variant protein is highly expressed and associated with CAG expansions, while the CBy MSH3 variant protein is expressed at barely detectable levels, associating with CAG stability. The DHFR protein, which is divergently transcribed from a promoter shared by the Msh3 gene, did not show varied levels between mouse strains. Thus, naturally occurring MSH3 protein polymorphisms are modifiers of CAG repeat instability, likely through variable MSH3 protein stability. Since evidence supports that somatic CAG instability is a modifier and predictor of disease, our data are consistent with the hypothesis that variable levels of CAG instability associated with polymorphisms of DNA repair genes may have prognostic implications for various repeat-associated diseases.
Project description:Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) is an autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disorder caused by a dynamic GAA repeat expansion mutation within intron 1 of the FXN gene. Studies of mouse models for other trinucleotide repeat (TNR) disorders have revealed an important role of mismatch repair (MMR) proteins in TNR instability. To explore the potential role of MMR proteins on intergenerational GAA repeat instability in FRDA, we have analyzed the transmission of unstable GAA repeat expansions from FXN transgenic mice which have been crossed with mice that are deficient for Msh2, Msh3, Msh6 or Pms2. We find in all cases that absence of parental MMR protein not only maintains transmission of GAA expansions and contractions, but also increases GAA repeat mutability (expansions and/or contractions) in the offspring. This indicates that Msh2, Msh3, Msh6 and Pms2 proteins are not the cause of intergenerational GAA expansions or contractions, but act in their canonical MMR capacity to protect against GAA repeat instability. We further identified differential modes of action for the four MMR proteins. Thus, Msh2 and Msh3 protect against GAA repeat contractions, while Msh6 protects against both GAA repeat expansions and contractions, and Pms2 protects against GAA repeat expansions and also promotes contractions. Furthermore, we detected enhanced occupancy of Msh2 and Msh3 proteins downstream of the FXN expanded GAA repeat, suggesting a model in which Msh2/3 dimers are recruited to this region to repair mismatches that would otherwise produce intergenerational GAA contractions. These findings reveal substantial differences in the intergenerational dynamics of expanded GAA repeat sequences compared with expanded CAG/CTG repeats, where Msh2 and Msh3 are thought to actively promote repeat expansions.
Project description:The Huntington's disease gene (HTT) CAG repeat mutation undergoes somatic expansion that correlates with pathogenesis. Modifiers of somatic expansion may therefore provide routes for therapies targeting the underlying mutation, an approach that is likely applicable to other trinucleotide repeat diseases. Huntington's disease Hdh(Q111) mice exhibit higher levels of somatic HTT CAG expansion on a C57BL/6 genetic background (B6.Hdh(Q111) ) than on a 129 background (129.Hdh(Q111) ). Linkage mapping in (B6x129).Hdh(Q111) F2 intercross animals identified a single quantitative trait locus underlying the strain-specific difference in expansion in the striatum, implicating mismatch repair (MMR) gene Mlh1 as the most likely candidate modifier. Crossing B6.Hdh(Q111) mice onto an Mlh1 null background demonstrated that Mlh1 is essential for somatic CAG expansions and that it is an enhancer of nuclear huntingtin accumulation in striatal neurons. Hdh(Q111) somatic expansion was also abolished in mice deficient in the Mlh3 gene, implicating MutL? (MLH1-MLH3) complex as a key driver of somatic expansion. Strikingly, Mlh1 and Mlh3 genes encoding MMR effector proteins were as critical to somatic expansion as Msh2 and Msh3 genes encoding DNA mismatch recognition complex MutS? (MSH2-MSH3). The Mlh1 locus is highly polymorphic between B6 and 129 strains. While we were unable to detect any difference in base-base mismatch or short slipped-repeat repair activity between B6 and 129 MLH1 variants, repair efficiency was MLH1 dose-dependent. MLH1 mRNA and protein levels were significantly decreased in 129 mice compared to B6 mice, consistent with a dose-sensitive MLH1-dependent DNA repair mechanism underlying the somatic expansion difference between these strains. Together, these data identify Mlh1 and Mlh3 as novel critical genetic modifiers of HTT CAG instability, point to Mlh1 genetic variation as the likely source of the instability difference in B6 and 129 strains and suggest that MLH1 protein levels play an important role in driving of the efficiency of somatic expansions.
Project description:The fragile X-related disorders result from expansion of a CGG/CCG microsatellite in the 5' UTR of the FMR1 gene. We have previously demonstrated that the MSH2/MSH3 complex, MutS?, that is important for mismatch repair, is essential for almost all expansions in a mouse model of these disorders. Here we show that the MSH2/MSH6 complex, MutS? also contributes to the production of both germ line and somatic expansions as evidenced by the reduction in the number of expansions observed in Msh6-/- mice. This effect is not mediated via an indirect effect of the loss of MSH6 on the level of MSH3. However, since MutS? is required for 98% of germ line expansions and almost all somatic ones, MutS? is apparently not able to efficiently substitute for MutS? in the expansion process. Using purified human proteins we demonstrate that MutS?, like MutS?, binds to substrates with loop-outs of the repeats and increases the thermal stability of the structures that they form. We also show that MutS? facilitates binding of MutS? to these loop-outs. These data suggest possible models for the contribution of MutS? to repeat expansion. In addition, we show that unlike MutS?, MutS? may also act to protect against repeat contractions in the Fmr1 gene.
Project description:Typically disease-causing CAG/CTG repeats expand, but rare affected families can display high levels of contraction of the expanded repeat amongst offspring. Understanding instability is important since arresting expansions or enhancing contractions could be clinically beneficial. The MutS? mismatch repair complex is required for CAG/CTG expansions in mice and patients. Oddly, by unknown mechanisms MutS?-deficient mice incur contractions instead of expansions. Replication using CTG or CAG as the lagging strand template is known to cause contractions or expansions respectively; however, the interplay between replication and repair leading to this instability remains unclear. Towards understanding how repeat contractions may arise, we performed in vitro SV40-mediated replication of repeat-containing plasmids in the presence or absence of mismatch repair. Specifically, we separated repair from replication: Replication mediated by MutS?- and MutS?-deficient human cells or cell extracts produced slipped-DNA heteroduplexes in the contraction- but not expansion-biased replication direction. Replication in the presence of MutS? disfavoured the retention of replication products harbouring slipped-DNA heteroduplexes. Post-replication repair of slipped-DNAs by MutS?-proficient extracts eliminated slipped-DNAs. Thus, a MutS?-deficiency likely enhances repeat contractions because MutS? protects against contractions by repairing template strand slip-outs. Replication deficient in LigaseI or PCNA-interaction mutant LigaseI revealed slipped-DNA formation at lagging strands. Our results reveal that distinct mechanisms lead to expansions or contractions and support inhibition of MutS? as a therapeutic strategy to enhance the contraction of expanded repeats.
Project description:Expansions of CTG/CAG trinucleotide repeats, thought to involve slipped DNAs at the repeats, cause numerous diseases including myotonic dystrophy and Huntington's disease. By unknown mechanisms, further repeat expansions in transgenic mice carrying expanded CTG/CAG tracts require the mismatch repair (MMR) proteins MSH2 and MSH3, forming the MutSbeta complex. Using an in vitro repair assay, we investigated the effect of slip-out size, with lengths of 1, 3, or 20 excess CTG repeats, as well as the effect of the number of slip-outs per molecule, on the requirement for human MMR. Long slip-outs escaped repair, whereas short slip-outs were repaired efficiently, much greater than a G-T mismatch, but required hMutSbeta. Higher or lower levels of hMutSbeta or its complete absence were detrimental to proper repair of short slip-outs. Surprisingly, clusters of as many as 62 short slip-outs (one to three repeat units each) along a single DNA molecule with (CTG)50*(CAG)50 repeats were refractory to repair, and repair efficiency was reduced further without MMR. Consistent with the MutSbeta requirement for instability, hMutSbeta is required to process isolated short slip-outs; however, multiple adjacent short slip-outs block each other's repair, possibly acting as roadblocks to progression of repair and allowing error-prone repair. Results suggest that expansions can arise by escaped repair of long slip-outs, tandem short slip-outs, or isolated short slip-outs; the latter two types are sensitive to hMutSbeta. Poor repair of clustered DNA lesions has previously been associated only with ionizing radiation damage. Our results extend this interference in repair to neurodegenerative disease-causing mutations in which clustered slip-outs escape proper repair and lead to expansions.