Estrogen drives cellular transformation and mutagenesis in cells expressing the breast cancer-associated R438W DNA polymerase lambda protein

Antonia A. Nemec, Korie B. Bush, Jamie B. Towle-Weicksel, B. Frazier Taylor, Vincent Schulz, Joanne B. Weidhaas, David P. Tuck, Joann B. Sweasy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Repair of DNA damage is critical for maintaining the genomic integrity of cells. DNA polymerase lambda (POLL/Pol λ) is suggested to function in base excision repair (BER) and nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ), and is likely to play a role in damage tolerance at the replication fork. Here, using nextgeneration sequencing, it was discovered that the POLL rs3730477 single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) encoding R438W Pol λ was significantly enriched in the germlines of breast cancer patients. Expression of R438W Pol λ in human breast epithelial cells induces cellular transformation and chromosomal aberrations. The role of estrogen was assessed as it is commonly used in hormone replacement therapies and is a known breast cancer risk factor. Interestingly, the combination of estrogen treatment and the expression of the R438W Pol λ SNP drastically accelerated the rate of transformation. Estrogen exposure produces 8-oxoguanine lesions that persist in cells expressing R438W Pol λ compared with wild-type (WT) Pol λ-expressing cells. Unlike WT Pol λ, which performs error-free bypass of 8-oxoguanine lesions, expression of R438W Pol λ leads to an increase in mutagenesis and replicative stress in cells treated with estrogen. Together, these data suggest that individuals who carry the rs3730477 POLL germline variant have an increased risk of estrogen-associated breast cancer. Implications: ThePol λ R438Wmutation canserveas abiomarker to predict cancer risk and implicates that treatment with estrogen in individuals with this mutation may further increase their risk of breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1068-1077
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Cancer Research
Volume14
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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