Reverse chemical mutagenesis: identification of the mutagenic lesions resulting from reactive oxygen species-mediated damage to DNA

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Jul 5;91(14):6609-13. doi: 10.1073/pnas.91.14.6609.


An understanding of the contribution of reactive oxygen species to mutagenesis has been hampered by the vast number of different chemical modifications they cause in DNA. Even though many of these DNA alterations have been catalogued, the identification of specific lesions that cause mutations has depended on testing one modification at a time. In this study we present another approach to identify key mutagenic lesions from a pool of oxidatively modified nucleotides. dCTP was treated with an oxygen radical-generating system containing FeSO4, H2O2, and ascorbic acid. The modification products were separated by reverse-phase and anion-exchange HPLC and then incorporated by human immunodeficiency virus reverse transcriptase into a DNA that contains a target gene for scoring for mutations. One of the mutagenic species isolated was identified as 5-hydroxy-2'-deoxycytidine. It is incorporated efficiently into DNA and causes C-->T transitions in Escherichia coli at a frequency of 2.5%, which is more mutagenic than any previously identified oxidative DNA lesion.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Damage*
  • DNA, Bacterial / drug effects
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • DNA, Bacterial / radiation effects
  • DNA, Viral / biosynthesis
  • DNA, Viral / radiation effects
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives
  • Deoxycytidine / analysis
  • Deoxycytosine Nucleotides / chemistry*
  • Deoxyribonucleotides / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Gamma Rays
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • HIV Reverse Transcriptase
  • HIV-1 / enzymology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis*
  • Mutagens / toxicity*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Phosphorus Radioisotopes
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / metabolism*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • DNA, Viral
  • Deoxycytosine Nucleotides
  • Deoxyribonucleotides
  • Mutagens
  • Phosphorus Radioisotopes
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Deoxycytidine
  • 2'-deoxycytidine 5'-triphosphate
  • 5-hydroxy-2'-deoxycytidine
  • HIV Reverse Transcriptase
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase