Spontaneous mutations in lacI-containing lambda lysogens derived from transgenic mice: the observed patterns differ in liver and spleen

Mutat Res. 1994 Nov 1;311(1):57-67. doi: 10.1016/0027-5107(94)90073-6.


The pattern of somatic mutation observed in tumor suppressor genes, such as the p53 gene, vary dramatically with tumor type. Some of the observed differences are due to tissue specific effects of mutagens, but it is also possible that some differences may reflect the tissue/cell type specificity of spontaneous mutation. Transgenic mouse models with recombinant shuttle vectors containing the lacI or lacZ target genes may shed light on the extent to which spontaneous mutation displays tissue specificity. Herein we utilize a recently described selectable system to obtain spontaneous mutants for analysis of the molecular lesions. Spontaneous mutations were isolated in the lacI gene recovered from five transgenic mice carrying a lambda shuttle vector. Seventy-three and 67 independent mutations derived from liver and spleen DNA, respectively, were defined in the amino terminal region of lacI. Although technical barriers preclude a direct assessment of the E. coli derived pattern of mutation in this system, five pieces of circumstantial evidence suggest that many of the mutations arose in mouse rather than in E. coli. In DNA from both liver and spleen, mutations at CpG dinucleotides predominate (58% and 51%, respectively). In spleen, most of the mutations at CpG are transitions, while in liver most are transversions. In addition, liver has a higher frequency of GC-->TA transversions at non-CpG dinucleotides while spleen had a higher frequency of deletions and insertions. The data provide evidence that the spontaneous pattern of mutation is tissue specific. In addition, the high frequency of transversions at CpG suggests the need to reevaluate the mechanisms by which mutations occur at this methylated dinucleotide.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Bacteriophage lambda / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA
  • Escherichia coli Proteins*
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Lac Repressors
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Lysogeny
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation*
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics*
  • Spleen / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Lac Repressors
  • Repressor Proteins
  • DNA