Mouse models for human DNA mismatch-repair gene defects

Trends Mol Med. 2002 Jul;8(7):346-53. doi: 10.1016/s1471-4914(02)02359-6.


The mammalian DNA mismatch-repair genes belong to a family of genes that comprise several homologs of the Escherichia coli mutS and mutL genes. The observation that mutations in the two human repair genes MSH2 and MLH1 are responsible for hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer, as well as a significant number of sporadic colorectal cancers, raises several questions about the role of these proteins and their family members in the initiation and progression of colorectal cancer. To address these questions, mice with inactivating mutations in all the known mutS and mutL homologs have been generated. The development of these mouse lines has permitted the systematic analysis of the role of each gene in the repair process and has underscored their significance in mutation avoidance and cancer susceptibility. These analyses were critical for our understanding of the function of these genes at the organismal level and also revealed an essential role for some of the DNA mismatch-repair genes in mammalian meiosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins*
  • Base Pair Mismatch*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms, Hereditary Nonpolyposis / genetics
  • DNA Repair*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / genetics*
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Models, Biological
  • MutL Proteins
  • MutS DNA Mismatch-Binding Protein
  • MutS Homolog 2 Protein
  • MutS Homolog 3 Protein
  • Mutation*
  • Phenotype
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Fungal Proteins
  • MSH3 protein, human
  • MSH6 protein, S cerevisiae
  • MutL protein, E coli
  • MutS Homolog 3 Protein
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases
  • MSH2 protein, human
  • Msh2 protein, mouse
  • MutL Proteins
  • MutS DNA Mismatch-Binding Protein
  • MutS Homolog 2 Protein
  • MutS protein, E coli