The products of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and flap endonuclease (FEN1) genes are multifunctional proteins that are involved in DNA replication and damage repair. Yeast models suggest association of mutant forms of PCNA and FEN1 with genomic instability. In our study, we have determined the single nucleotide polymorphisms in human PCNA and FEN1 genes. We sequenced the coding region and adjacent noncoding region of both the PCNA and FEN1 genes in 120 alleles (60 individuals). In the PCNA gene, we detected 9 sequence variants with Hardy-Weinberg allele frequency ranging from 0.008 to 0.088. No polymorphism was detected in the FEN1 gene. The sequence variants in the PCNA gene included 7 intronic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) and 2 synonymous exonic SNPs. All the intronic SNPs were located in introns 1 and 4, which contain several regulatory elements involved in the control of PCNA gene expression. Six of the 7 intronic SNPs showed complete linkage disequilibrium. We confirmed this allelic linkage disequilibrium by allele-specific PCR sequencing. We genotyped 117 additional individuals belonging to 3 population subgroups using the PCR-RFLP method. Finally, to see if the detected polymorphisms are associated with any cancer type, we genotyped cases with melanomas (37 cases), breast cancers (118 cases) and lung cancers (100 cases). We did not find statistical difference in frequency of polymorphism in any cancer type compared with healthy controls, although in breast cancer the frequency was low. Our results suggest that the coding regions of the PCNA and FEN1 genes are highly conserved when compared with other DNA repair genes. The potential of some of the detected intronic polymorphisms to effect regulation of the PCNA gene expression remains to be determined.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.