A particularly important stress for all cells is the one produced by reactive oxygen species (ROS) that are formed as byproducts of cell metabolism. Among DNA damages induced by ROS, 8-hydroxyguanine (8-OH-G) is certainly the product that has retained most of the attention in the past few years. The biological relevance of 8-OH-G in DNA has been unveiled by the study of Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae genes involved in the neutralization of the mutagenic effects of 8-OH-G. These genes, fpg and mutY for E. coli and OGG1 for yeast, code for DNA glycosylases. Inactivation of any of those genes leads to a spontaneous mutator phenotype, characterized by the increase in GC to TA transversions. In yeast, the OGG1 gene encodes a DNA glycosylase/AP lyase that excises 8-OH-G from DNA. In human cells, the OGG1 gene is localized on chromosome 3p25 and encodes two forms of hOgg1 protein which result from an alternative splicing of a single messenger RNA. The alpha-hOgg1 protein has a nuclear localization whereas the beta-hOgg1 is targeted to the mitochondrion. Biochemical studies on the alpha-hOgg1 protein show that it is a DNA glycosylase/AP lyase that excises 8-OH-G and Fapy-G from gamma-irradiated DNA. Several approaches have been used to study the biological role of OGG1 in mammalian cells, ranging from its overexpression in cell lines to the generation of homozygous ogg1-/- null mice. Furthermore, to explore a possible role in the prevention of cancer, the cDNA coding for alpha-hOgg1 has been sequenced in human tumors. All these results point to 8-OH-G as an endogenous source of mutations in eukaryotes and to its likely involvement in the process of carcinogenesis. A review of the recent literature on the mammalian Ogg1 proteins, the main repair system involved in the elimination of this mutagenic lesion, is presented.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.