Chemical mutagens with an aromatic ring system may be enzymatically transformed to afford aryl radical species that preferentially react at the C8-site of 2'-deoxyguanosine (dG). The resulting carbon-linked C8-aryl-dG adduct possesses altered biophysical and genetic coding properties compared to the precursor nucleoside. Described herein are structural and in vitro mutagenicity studies of a series of fluorescent C8-aryl-dG analogues that differ in aryl ring size and are representative of authentic DNA adducts. These structural mimics have been inserted into a hotspot sequence for frameshift mutations, namely, the reiterated G3-position of the NarI sequence within 12mer (NarI(12)) and 22mer (NarI(22)) oligonucleotides. In the NarI(12) duplexes, the C8-aryl-dG adducts display a preference for adopting an anti-conformation opposite C, despite the strong syn preference of the free nucleoside. Using the NarI(22) sequence as a template for DNA synthesis in vitro, mutagenicity of the C8-aryl-dG adducts was assayed with representative high-fidelity replicative versus lesion bypass Y-family DNA polymerases, namely, Escherichia coli pol I Klenow fragment exo(-) (Kf(-)) and Sulfolobus solfataricus P2 DNA polymerase IV (Dpo4). Our experiments provide a basis for a model involving a two-base slippage and subsequent realignment process to relate the miscoding properties of C-linked C8-aryl-dG adducts with their chemical structures.
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