We showed previously that in repair-proficient human cells the location of the premutagenic lesion induced by (±)-7β,8α-dihydroxy-9α,10α-epoxy-7,8,9,10-tetrahydrobenzo(a)pyrene (BPDE), namely, the guanine in a G·C base substitution, in mutants derived from cells treated at the beginning of S phase just when the hypoxanthine (guanine) phosphoribosyltransferase gene is replicated, differs significantly from their location in cells treated 12 h prior to the beginning of S phase (early G1 phase) (R-H. Chen et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 87: 8680-8684, 1990). This suggests that the cells preferentially remove BPDE adducts from the transcribed strand. We have now determined the kinds and location of independent mutations induced by BPDE in the coding region of the hypoxanthine (guanine) phosphoribosyltransferase gene of synchronized repair-deficient xeroderma pigmentosum cells (XP12BE, complementation group A), treated at S or in G1. Nineteen of 25 mutants derived from S-treated cells and 23 of 28 mutants from G1-treated cells contained base substitutions. Eighty-nine percent of these involved a G·C base pair, primarily G·C → T·A transversions. This is similar to the kinds of mutations we saw in the repair-proficient cells. However, in contrast to our earlier results, there was no change in strand distribution of premutagenic BPDE lesions. In both populations, ∼26% of the base substitutions involving G·C base pairs had the G located in the transcribed strand, 5 of 18 in the S phase mutants, and 5 of 21 in the G1 phase mutants. These results support the hypothesis that the strong strand bias of induced mutations observed in the repair-proficient cells results from preferential repair of BPDE-induced DNA damage from the transcribed strand.


This research was supported in part by Department of Health and Human Services Grant CA21253 from the National Cancer Institute.

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