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IBBR publication #2272

The DNA Alkylguanine DNA Alkyltransferase-2 (AGT-2) of Caenorhabditis elegans is involved in meiosis and early development under physiological conditions

Serpe M, Forenza C, Adamo A, Russo N, Perugino G, Ciaramella M, Valenti A

Scientific Reports 9 (1): 83. (2019)
doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-43394-1

DNA alkylguanine DNA alkyltransferases (AGTs) are evolutionary conserved proteins that repair alkylation damage in DNA, counteracting the effects of agents inducing such lesions. Over the last years AGTs have raised considerable interest for both the peculiarity of their molecular mechanism and their relevance in cancer biology. AGT knock out mice show increased tumour incidence in response to alkylating agents, and over-expression of the human AGT protein in cancer cells is frequently associated with resistance to alkylating chemotherapy. While all data available point to a function of AGT proteins in the cell response to alkylation lesions, we report for the first time that one of the two AGT paralogs of the model organism C. elegans, called AGT-2, also plays unexpected roles in meiosis and early development under physiological conditions. Our data suggest a role for AGT-2 in conversion of homologous recombination intermediates into post-strand exchange products in meiosis, and show that agt-2 gene down-regulation, or treatment of animals with an AGT inhibitor results in increased number of germ cells that are incompatible with producing viable offspring and are eliminated by apoptosis. These results suggest possible functions for AGTs in cell processes distinct from repair of alkylating damage

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