Microsatellite instability induced by hydrogen peroxide in Escherichia coli

Mutat Res. 2000 Feb 14;447(2):187-98. doi: 10.1016/s0027-5107(99)00206-7.


Damage to DNA by reactive oxygen species may be a significant source of endogenous mutagenesis in aerobic organisms. Using a selective assay for microsatellite instability in E. coli, we have asked whether endogenous oxidative mutagenesis can contribute to genetic instability. Instability of repetitive sequences, both in intronic sequences and within coding regions, is a hallmark of genetic instability in human cancers. We demonstrate that exposure of E. coli to low levels of hydrogen peroxide increases the frequency of expansions and deletions within dinucleotide repetitive sequences. Sequencing of the repetitive sequences and flanking non-repetitive regions in mutant clones demonstrated the high specificity for alterations with the repeats. All of the 183 mutants sequenced displayed frameshift alterations within the microsatellite repeats, and no base substitutions or frameshift mutations occurred within the flanking non-repetitive sequences. We hypothesize that endogenous oxidative damage to DNA can increase the frequency of strand slippage intermediates occurring during DNA replication or repair synthesis, and contribute to genomic instability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Catalase / pharmacology
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • DNA, Bacterial / chemistry
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • DNA, Bacterial / isolation & purification
  • Dinucleotide Repeats / drug effects
  • Dinucleotide Repeats / genetics
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Ferrous Compounds / pharmacology
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / pharmacology*
  • Microsatellite Repeats / drug effects*
  • Microsatellite Repeats / genetics
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional
  • Oxidants / pharmacology*
  • Plasmids / chemistry
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Plasmids / isolation & purification
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Sequence Deletion
  • beta-Lactamases / genetics


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Ferrous Compounds
  • Oxidants
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • ferrous sulfate
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Catalase
  • beta-Lactamases