MGMT is the primary vehicle for cellular removal of alkyl lesions from the O-6 position of guanine and the O-4 position of thymine. While key to the maintenance of genomic integrity, MGMT also removes damage induced by alkylating chemotherapies, inhibiting the efficacy of cancer treatment. Germline variants of human MGMT are well-characterized, but somatic variants found in tumors were, prior to this work, uncharacterized. We found that MGMT G132R, from a human esophageal tumor, and MGMT G156C, from a human colorectal cancer cell line, are unable to rescue methyltransferase-deficient Escherichia coli as well as wild type (WT) human MGMT after treatment with a methylating agent. Using pre-steady state kinetics, we biochemically characterized these variants as having a reduced rate constant. G132R binds DNA containing an O6-methylguanine lesion half as tightly as WT MGMT, while G156C has a 40-fold decrease in binding affinity for the same damaged DNA versus WT. Mammalian cells expressing either G132R or G156C are more sensitive to methylating agents than mammalian cells expressing WT MGMT. G132R is slightly resistant to O6-benzylguanine, an inhibitor of MGMT in clinical trials, while G156C is almost completely resistant to this inhibitor. The impared functionality of expressed variants G132R and G156C suggests that the presence of somatic variants of MGMT in a tumor could impact chemotherapeutic outcomes.
- DNA repair
- O(6)-alkylguanine DNA alkyltransferase
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research