Half-Intercalation Stabilizes Slipped Mispairing and Explains Genome Vulnerability to Frameshift Mutagenesis by Endogenous “Molecular Bookmarks”

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Some 60 years ago chemicals that intercalate between base pairs of duplex DNA were found to amplify frameshift mutagenesis. Surprisingly, the robust induction of frameshifts by intercalators still lacks a mechanistic model, leaving this classic phenomenon annoyingly intractable. A promising idea of asymmetric half-intercalation-stabilizing frameshift intermediates during DNA synthesis has never been developed into a model. Instead, researchers of frameshift mutagenesis embraced the powerful slipped-mispairing concept that unexpectedly struggled with the role of intercalators in frameshifting. It is proposed that the slipped mispairing and the half-intercalation ideas are two sides of the same coin. Further, existing findings are reviewed to test predictions of the combined “half-intercalation into the slipped-mispairing intermediate” model against accumulated knowledge. The existence of potential endogenous intercalators and the phenomenon of “DNA bookmarks” reveal ample possibilities for natural frameshift mutagenisis in the cell. From this alarming perspective, it is discussed how the cell could prevent genome deterioration from frameshift mutagenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1900062
JournalBioEssays
Volume41
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019

Keywords

  • 1 base pair (bp) indels
  • DNA synthesis
  • acridines
  • asymmetric intercalations
  • ethidium bromide
  • strand slippage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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