Mechanism for N-acetyl-2-aminofluorene-induced frameshift mutagenesis by Escherichia coli DNA polymerase I (Klenow fragment)

Biochemistry. 2005 Nov 22;44(46):15387-95. doi: 10.1021/bi051437s.


N-Acetyl-2-aminofluorene (AAF) is a chemical carcinogen that reacts with guanines at the C8 position in DNA to form a structure that interferes with DNA replication. In bacteria, the NarI restriction enzyme recognition sequence (G1G2CG3CC) is a very strong mutational hot spot when an AAF adduct is positioned at G3 of this sequence, causing predominantly a -2 frameshift GC dinucleotide deletion mutation. In this study, templates were constructed that contained an AAF adduct at this position, and primers of different lengths were prepared such that the primer ended one nucleotide before or opposite or one nucleotide after the adduct site. Primer extension and gel shift binding assays were used to study the mechanism of bypass by the Escherichia coli DNA polymerase I (Klenow fragment) in the presence of these templates. Primer extension in the presence of all four dNTPs produced a fully extended product using the unmodified template, while with the AAF-modified template synthesis initially stalled at the adduct site and subsequent synthesis resulted in a product that contained the GC dinucleotide deletion. Extension product and gel shift binding analyses were consistent with the formation of a two-nucleotide bulge structure upstream of the active site of the polymerase after a nucleotide is incorporated across from the adduct. These data support a model in which the AAF adduct in the NarI sequence specifically induces a structure upstream of the polymerase active site that leads to the GC frameshift mutation and that it is this structure that allows synthesis past the adduct to occur.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • 2-Acetylaminofluorene / analogs & derivatives*
  • 2-Acetylaminofluorene / pharmacology
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • DNA Adducts / metabolism*
  • DNA Polymerase I / metabolism*
  • DNA Primers / chemistry
  • Deoxyribonucleases, Type II Site-Specific / metabolism
  • Electrophoretic Mobility Shift Assay
  • Escherichia coli / enzymology*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Frameshift Mutation / drug effects
  • Frameshift Mutation / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Templates, Genetic


  • DNA Adducts
  • DNA Primers
  • 2-Acetylaminofluorene
  • DNA Polymerase I
  • Deoxyribonucleases, Type II Site-Specific
  • GGCGCC-specific type II deoxyribonucleases