DNA mismatch repair and its many roles in eukaryotic cells

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewResearchpeer-review

DNA mismatch repair (MMR) is an important DNA repair pathway that plays critical roles in DNA replication fidelity, mutation avoidance and genome stability, all of which contribute significantly to the viability of cells and organisms. MMR is widely-used as a diagnostic biomarker for human cancers in the clinic, and as a biomarker of cancer susceptibility in animal model systems. Prokaryotic MMR is well-characterized at the molecular and mechanistic level; however, MMR is considerably more complex in eukaryotic cells than in prokaryotic cells, and in recent years, it has become evident that MMR plays novel roles in eukaryotic cells, several of which are not yet well-defined or understood. Many MMR-deficient human cancer cells lack mutations in known human MMR genes, which strongly suggests that essential eukaryotic MMR components/cofactors remain unidentified and uncharacterized. Furthermore, the mechanism by which the eukaryotic MMR machinery discriminates between the parental (template) and the daughter (nascent) DNA strand is incompletely understood and how cells choose between the EXO1-dependent and the EXO1–independent subpathways of MMR is not known. This review summarizes recent literature on eukaryotic MMR, with emphasis on the diverse cellular roles of eukaryotic MMR proteins, the mechanism of strand discrimination and cross-talk/interactions between and co-regulation of MMR and other DNA repair pathways in eukaryotic cells. The main conclusion of the review is that MMR proteins contribute to genome stability through their ability to recognize and promote an appropriate cellular response to aberrant DNA structures, especially when they arise during DNA replication. Although the molecular mechanism of MMR in the eukaryotic cell is still not completely understood, increased used of single-molecule analyses in the future may yield new insight into these unsolved questions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMutation Research - Reviews in Mutation Research
Pages (from-to)174-187
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017

    Research areas

  • DNA polymerase, DNA replication, Genomic stability, Microsatellite instability, MMR, Mutagenesis

ID: 185037348