Polycyclic aromatic amines, heterocylic amines and nitroarenes are environmental carcinogens that are present in many cooked and broiled foods, notably meats, products of fuel combustion such as diesel exhaust, tobacco smoke, cooking oil fumes, coffee, tea and spices, and polluted air and water. Cancer is initiated when metabolites of these chemicals form DNA lesions that cause mutations during replication. Among the plethora of DNA adducts, it is essential to identify the most hazardous ones for purposes of biomonitoring and assessing the exposure risk of individuals to environmental carcinogens. Biomonitoring will be greatly improved by concentrating on those adducts that are the most persistent ones in vivo. We are focusing on a group of aromatic amine-, heterocyclic amine- and nitroarene-derived DNA adducts of varying sizes and shapes that stem from these metabolically activated environmental carcinogens. They have been identified in human cells and fluids, and in animal cells and tissues. We will investigate DNA adducts to dG-N2 that have been largely overlooked, but are often persistent in animal studies and adducts to dG-C8, for which animal studies suggest repair susceptibility in a number of cases. Our central hypothesis is that those adducts that entirely escape nucleotide excision repair (NER) are critical ones, as they will gradually accumulate in our DNA and cause cancer-initiating mutations. Our long-term goal is to determine the properties of adducts that govern repair resistance and susceptibility, and identify those adducts that resist NER. Our three Specific Aims test the hypothesis that the linkage site to guanine, the size and shape of the aromatic ring system and the sequence context of the adducts are the key factors that determine their NER susceptibility. We will utilize innovative molecular modeling approaches to elucidate the properties of the DNA lesions and determine the characteristics responsible for repair resistance or susceptibility. We will work hand-in-hand with our long-term collaborator N. Geacintov, who will perform NER studies with human HeLa cell extracts for our adducts. Our underlying hypothesis is that lesion-induced local stabilization of the DNA duplexes is the fundamental property that determines the NER resistance of a given lesion. Prior work has demonstrated, using melting points of duplexes as indicators of stability, that repair resistant adducts either cause minor stability decreases or stabilize modified double-stranded DNA. In contrast, DNA lesions that elicit NER are thermally destabilizing. We will investigate the adducts in uncomplexed DNA as well as when complexed with histone proteins in nucleosomes, the fundamental DNA-organization unit in the cellular environment. Our studies will provide the next-generation of biomarkers for exposure and risk of developing cancer, facilitate design of better NER-resistant chemotherapeutics through our gained understanding of NER mechanisms, and advance our capability for genotoxic screening of adducts derived from the polycyclic aromatic amines, heterocylic amines and nitroarenes present in our environment.

Public Health Relevance

Our work will advance cancer prevention: it will yield novel capability for efficient screening of aromatic amines, heterocyclic amines and nitroarenes to determine their carcinogenic potency;furthermore, it will provide the next-generation of exposure biomarkers that will serve as much more powerful signals of cancer susceptibility in individuals. In addition, the design of more effective cancer chemotherapeutic agents will be facilitated through the enhanced understanding of NER lesion-recognition mechanisms that will emerge from our work.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-OBT-B (02))
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Okano, Paul
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New York University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
New York
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Mu, Hong; Geacintov, Nicholas E; Broyde, Suse et al. (2018) Molecular basis for damage recognition and verification by XPC-RAD23B and TFIIH in nucleotide excision repair. DNA Repair (Amst) :
Chakraborty, Sagnik; Steinbach, Peter J; Paul, Debamita et al. (2018) Enhanced spontaneous DNA twisting/bending fluctuations unveiled by fluorescence lifetime distributions promote mismatch recognition by the Rad4 nucleotide excision repair complex. Nucleic Acids Res 46:1240-1255
Ji, Shaofei; Fu, Iwen; Naldiga, Spandana et al. (2018) 5-Formylcytosine mediated DNA-protein cross-links block DNA replication and induce mutations in human cells. Nucleic Acids Res 46:6455-6469
Cai, Yuqin; Fu, Iwen; Geacintov, Nicholas E et al. (2018) Synergistic effects of H3 and H4 nucleosome tails on structure and dynamics of a lesion-containing DNA: Binding of a displaced lesion partner base to the H3 tail for GG-NER recognition. DNA Repair (Amst) 65:73-78
Fu, Iwen; Cai, Yuqin; Geacintov, Nicholas E et al. (2017) Nucleosome Histone Tail Conformation and Dynamics: Impacts of Lysine Acetylation and a Nearby Minor Groove Benzo[a]pyrene-Derived Lesion. Biochemistry 56:1963-1973
Geacintov, Nicholas E; Broyde, Suse (2017) Repair-Resistant DNA Lesions. Chem Res Toxicol 30:1517-1548
Mu, Hong; Geacintov, Nicholas E; Min, Jung-Hyun et al. (2017) Nucleotide Excision Repair Lesion-Recognition Protein Rad4 Captures a Pre-Flipped Partner Base in a Benzo[a]pyrene-Derived DNA Lesion: How Structure Impacts the Binding Pathway. Chem Res Toxicol 30:1344-1354
Fu, Iwen; Cai, Yuqin; Zhang, Yingkai et al. (2016) Entrapment of a Histone Tail by a DNA Lesion in a Nucleosome Suggests the Lesion Impacts Epigenetic Marking: A Molecular Dynamics Study. Biochemistry 55:239-42
Wickramaratne, Susith; Ji, Shaofei; Mukherjee, Shivam et al. (2016) Bypass of DNA-Protein Cross-links Conjugated to the 7-Deazaguanine Position of DNA by Translesion Synthesis Polymerases. J Biol Chem 291:23589-23603
Cai, Yuqin; Kropachev, Konstantin; Terzidis, Michael A et al. (2015) Differences in the Access of Lesions to the Nucleotide Excision Repair Machinery in Nucleosomes. Biochemistry 54:4181-5

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