Pure nucleotide precursor pools are a prerequisite for high-fidelity DNA replication and the suppression of mutagenesis and carcinogenesis. ITPases are nucleoside triphosphate pyrophosphatases that clean the precursor pools of the non-canonical triphosphates of inosine and xanthine. The precise role of the human ITPase, encoded by the ITPA gene, is not clearly defined. ITPA is clinically important because a widespread polymorphism, 94C>A, leads to null ITPase activity in erythrocytes and is associated with an adverse reaction to thiopurine drugs. We studied the cellular function of ITPA in HeLa cells using the purine analog 6-N hydroxylaminopurine (HAP), whose triphosphate is also a substrate for ITPA. In this study, we demonstrate that ITPA knockdown sensitizes HeLa cells to HAP-induced DNA breaks and apoptosis. The HAP-induced DNA damage and cytotoxicity observed in ITPA knockdown cells are rescued by an overexpression of the yeast ITPase encoded by the HAM1 gene. We further show that ITPA knockdown results in elevated mutagenesis in response to HAP treatment. Our studies reveal the significance of ITPA in preventing base analog-induced apoptosis, DNA damage and mutagenesis in human cells. This implies that individuals with defective ITPase are predisposed to genome damage by impurities in nucleotide pools, which is drastically augmented by therapy with purine analogs. They are also at an elevated risk for degenerative diseases and cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)