DNA interstrand cross-links (ICLs) represent lethal DNA damage, because they block transcription, replication, and segregation of DNA. Because of their genotoxicity, agents inducing ICLs are often used in antitumor therapy. The repair of ICLs is complex and involves proteins belonging to nucleotide excision, recombination, and translesion DNA repair pathways in Escherichia coli, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and mammals. We cloned and analyzed mammalian homologs of the S. cerevisiae gene SNM1 (PSO2), which is specifically involved in ICL repair. Human Snm1, a nuclear protein, was ubiquitously expressed at a very low level. We generated mouse SNM1(-/-) embryonic stem cells and showed that these cells were sensitive to mitomycin C. In contrast to S. cerevisiae snm1 mutants, they were not significantly sensitive to other ICL agents, probably due to redundancy in mammalian ICL repair and the existence of other SNM1 homologs. The sensitivity to mitomycin C was complemented by transfection of the human SNM1 cDNA and by targeting of a genomic cDNA-murine SNM1 fusion construct to the disrupted locus. We also generated mice deficient for murine SNM1. They were viable and fertile and showed no major abnormalities. However, they were sensitive to mitomycin C. The ICL sensitivity of the mammalian SNM1 mutant suggests that SNM1 function and, by implication, ICL repair are at least partially conserved between S. cerevisiae and mammals.

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Molecular and Cellular Biology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Dronkert, M., de Wit, J., Boeve, M., Vasconcelos, M. L., van Steeg, H., Kanaar, R., … Tan, T. L. R. (2000). Disruption of mouse SNM1 causes increased sensitivity to the DNA interstrand cross-linking agent mitomycin C. Molecular and Cellular Biology. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/9383