The kinds and locations of mutations in the coding region of the hypoxanthine (guanine) phosphoribosyltransferase (hprt) gene of 75 independent mutants, derived from N-methyl-N′-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG)-treated normal human fibroblasts, were characterized by direct sequencing of mRNA-polymerase chain reaction (mRNA-PCR)-amplified cDNA. Treatment of human cells with low (6 or 8 μm) or high (10 or 12 μm) doses MNNG resulted in 35-fold or 150-fold average increases in mutation frequency, respectively. A high frequency of mutants lacking a complete exon was observed in both groups. Further characterization of half of these mutants by DNA-PCR amplification of intron-exon boundaries showed that they contained base substitutions. The kinds of base substitutions differed distinctly between these two groups. In the low dose group, a broad mutational spectrum was observed: ten out of the 31 base substitutions were A·T to G·C transitions, six contained G·C to A·T transitions, and the other 15 exhibited transversions. In contrast, the majority (84%) of base substitutions among the high dose group were G·C to A·T transitions; the others (16%) were transversions. All of the 32 G·C to A·T transitions were located on the non-transcribed strand, assuming that the causative premutational lesion was O6-methylguanine. These results indicate preferential repair of lesions located on the transcribed strand. In addition, G·C to A·T and A·T to G·C transitions preferentially occurred at positions with guanine and thymine at the adjacent 5′ position, respectively.
- mutation specificity
- polymerase chain reaction