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Two Aldehyde Clearance Systems Are Essential to Prevent Lethal Formaldehyde Accumulation in Mice and Humans.
Reactive aldehydes arise as by-products of metabolism and are normally cleared by multiple families of enzymes. We find that mice lacking two aldehyde detoxifying enzymes, mitochondrial ALDH2 and cytoplasmic ADH5, have greatly shortened lifespans and develop leukemia. Hematopoiesis is disrupted profoundly, with a reduction of hematopoietic stem cells and common lymphoid progenitors causing a severely depleted acquired immune system. We show that formaldehyde is a common substrate of ALDH2 and ADH5 and establish methods to quantify elevated blood formaldehyde and formaldehyde-DNA adducts in tissues. Bone-marrow-derived progenitors actively engage DNA repair but also imprint a formaldehyde-driven mutation signature similar to aging-associated human cancer mutation signatures. Furthermore, we identify analogous genetic defects in children causing a previously uncharacterized inherited bone marrow failure and pre-leukemic syndrome. Endogenous formaldehyde clearance alone is therefore critical for hematopoiesis and in limiting mutagenesis in somatic tissues.
Endogenous formaldehyde is produced by numerous biochemical pathways fundamental to life, and it can crosslink both DNA and proteins. However, the consequences of its accumulation are unclear. Here we show that endogenous formaldehyde is removed by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase 5 (ADH5/GSNOR), and Adh5(-/-) mice therefore accumulate formaldehyde adducts in DNA. The repair of this damage is mediated by FANCD2, a DNA crosslink repair protein. Adh5(-/-)Fancd2(-/-) mice reveal an essential requirement for these protection mechanisms in hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), leading to their depletion and precipitating bone marrow failure. More widespread formaldehyde-induced DNA damage also causes karyomegaly and dysfunction of hepatocytes and nephrons. Bone marrow transplantation not only rescued hematopoiesis but, surprisingly, also preserved nephron function. Nevertheless, all of these animals eventually developed fatal malignancies. Formaldehyde is therefore an important source of endogenous DNA damage that is counteracted in mammals by a conserved protection mechanism.
Haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) regenerate blood cells throughout the lifespan of an organism. With age, the functional quality of HSCs declines, partly owing to the accumulation of damaged DNA. However, the factors that damage DNA and the protective mechanisms that operate in these cells are poorly understood. We have recently shown that the Fanconi anaemia DNA-repair pathway counteracts the genotoxic effects of reactive aldehydes. Mice with combined inactivation of aldehyde catabolism (through Aldh2 knockout) and the Fanconi anaemia DNA-repair pathway (Fancd2 knockout) display developmental defects, a predisposition to leukaemia, and are susceptible to the toxic effects of ethanol-an exogenous source of acetaldehyde. Here we report that aged Aldh2(-/-) Fancd2(-/-) mutant mice that do not develop leukaemia spontaneously develop aplastic anaemia, with the concomitant accumulation of damaged DNA within the haematopoietic stem and progenitor cell (HSPC) pool. Unexpectedly, we find that only HSPCs, and not more mature blood precursors, require Aldh2 for protection against acetaldehyde toxicity. Additionally, the aldehyde-oxidizing activity of HSPCs, as measured by Aldefluor stain, is due to Aldh2 and correlates with this protection. Finally, there is more than a 600-fold reduction in the HSC pool of mice deficient in both Fanconi anaemia pathway-mediated DNA repair and acetaldehyde detoxification. Therefore, the emergence of bone marrow failure in Fanconi anaemia is probably due to aldehyde-mediated genotoxicity restricted to the HSPC pool. These findings identify a new link between endogenous reactive metabolites and DNA damage in HSCs, and define the protective mechanisms that counteract this threat.
The folate-driven one-carbon (1C) cycle is a fundamental metabolic hub in cells that enables the synthesis of nucleotides and amino acids and epigenetic modifications. This cycle might also release formaldehyde, a potent protein and DNA crosslinking agent that organisms produce in substantial quantities. Here we show that supplementation with tetrahydrofolate, the essential cofactor of this cycle, and other oxidation-prone folate derivatives kills human, mouse and chicken cells that cannot detoxify formaldehyde or that lack DNA crosslink repair. Notably, formaldehyde is generated from oxidative decomposition of the folate backbone. Furthermore, we find that formaldehyde detoxification in human cells generates formate, and thereby promotes nucleotide synthesis. This supply of 1C units is sufficient to sustain the growth of cells that are unable to use serine, which is the predominant source of 1C units. These findings identify an unexpected source of formaldehyde and, more generally, indicate that the detoxification of this ubiquitous endogenous genotoxin creates a benign 1C unit that can sustain essential metabolism.
Reactive aldehydes are common carcinogens. They are also by-products of several metabolic pathways and, without enzymatic catabolism, may accumulate and cause DNA damage. Ethanol, which is metabolised to acetaldehyde, is both carcinogenic and teratogenic in humans. Here we find that the Fanconi anaemia DNA repair pathway counteracts acetaldehyde-induced genotoxicity in mice. Our results show that the acetaldehyde-catabolising enzyme Aldh2 is essential for the development of Fancd2(-/-) embryos. Nevertheless, acetaldehyde-catabolism-competent mothers (Aldh2(+/-)) can support the development of double-mutant (Aldh2(-/-)Fancd2(-/-)) mice. However, these embryos are unusually sensitive to ethanol exposure in utero, and ethanol consumption by postnatal double-deficient mice rapidly precipitates bone marrow failure. Lastly, Aldh2(-/-)Fancd2(-/-) mice spontaneously develop acute leukaemia. Acetaldehyde-mediated DNA damage may critically contribute to the genesis of fetal alcohol syndrome in fetuses, as well as to abnormal development, haematopoietic failure and cancer predisposition in Fanconi anaemia patients.
Acetaldehyde is a highly reactive, DNA-damaging metabolite that is produced upon alcohol consumption1. Impaired detoxification of acetaldehyde is common in the Asian population, and is associated with alcohol-related cancers1,2. Cells are protected against acetaldehyde-induced damage by DNA crosslink repair, which when impaired causes Fanconi anaemia (FA), a disease resulting in failure to produce blood cells and a predisposition to cancer3,4. The combined inactivation of acetaldehyde detoxification and the FA pathway induces mutation, accelerates malignancies and causes the rapid attrition of blood stem cells5-7. However, the nature of the DNA damage induced by acetaldehyde and how this is repaired remains a key question. Here we generate acetaldehyde-induced DNA interstrand crosslinks and determine their repair mechanism in Xenopus egg extracts. We find that two replication-coupled pathways repair these lesions. The first is the FA pathway, which operates using excision-analogous to the mechanism used to repair the interstrand crosslinks caused by the chemotherapeutic agent cisplatin. However, the repair of acetaldehyde-induced crosslinks results in increased mutation frequency and an altered mutational spectrum compared with the repair of cisplatin-induced crosslinks. The second repair mechanism requires replication fork convergence, but does not involve DNA incisions-instead the acetaldehyde crosslink itself is broken. The Y-family DNA polymerase REV1 completes repair of the crosslink, culminating in a distinct mutational spectrum. These results define the repair pathways of DNA interstrand crosslinks caused by an endogenous and alcohol-derived metabolite, and identify an excision-independent mechanism.
Haematopoietic stem cells renew blood. Accumulation of DNA damage in these cells promotes their decline, while misrepair of this damage initiates malignancies. Here we describe the features and mutational landscape of DNA damage caused by acetaldehyde, an endogenous and alcohol-derived metabolite. This damage results in DNA double-stranded breaks that, despite stimulating recombination repair, also cause chromosome rearrangements. We combined transplantation of single haematopoietic stem cells with whole-genome sequencing to show that this damage occurs in stem cells, leading to deletions and rearrangements that are indicative of microhomology-mediated end-joining repair. Moreover, deletion of p53 completely rescues the survival of aldehyde-stressed and mutated haematopoietic stem cells, but does not change the pattern or the intensity of genome instability within individual stem cells. These findings characterize the mutation of the stem-cell genome by an alcohol-derived and endogenous source of DNA damage. Furthermore, we identify how the choice of DNA-repair pathway and a stringent p53 response limit the transmission of aldehyde-induced mutations in stem cells.
© 2020, The Author(s). Aldehyde dehydrogenase class 3, encoded by ADH5 in humans, catalyzes the glutathione dependent detoxification of formaldehyde. Here we show that ADH5 deficient cells turn over formaldehyde using alternative pathways starting from the reaction of formaldehyde with free amino acids. When mammalian cells are exposed to formaldehyde, the levels of the reaction products of formaldehyde with the amino acids cysteine and histidine - timonacic and spinacine - are increased. These reactions take place spontaneously and the formation of timonacic is reversible. The levels of timonacic are higher in the plasma of Adh5−/− mice relative to controls and they are further increased upon administration of methanol. We conclude that mammals possess pathways of cysteine and histidine dependent formaldehyde metabolism and that timonacic is a formaldehyde reservoir.
A 2-aza-Cope reactivity-based platform for ratiometric fluorescence imaging of formaldehyde in living cells
© 2017 The Royal Society of Chemistry. Formaldehyde (FA) is a major reactive carbonyl species (RCS) that is naturally produced in living systems through a diverse array of cellular pathways that span from epigenetic regulation to the metabolic processing of endogenous metabolites. At the same time, however, aberrant elevations in FA levels contribute to pathologies ranging from cancer and diabetes to heart, liver, and neurodegenerative diseases. Disentangling the complex interplay between FA physiology and pathology motivates the development of chemical tools that can enable the selective detection of this RCS in biological environments with spatial and temporal fidelity. We report the design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of ratiometric formaldehyde probe (RFAP) indicators for the excitation-ratiometric fluorescence imaging of formaldehyde production in living systems. RFAP-1 and RFAP-2 utilize FA-dependent aza-Cope reactivity to convert an alkylamine-functionalized coumarin platform into its aldehyde congener with a ca. 50 nm shift in the excitation wavelength. The probes exhibit visible excitation and emission profiles, and high selectivity for FA over a variety of RCS and related reactive biological analytes, including acetaldehyde, with up to a 6-fold change in the fluorescence ratio. The RFAP indicators can be used to monitor changes in FA levels in biological samples by live-cell imaging and/or flow cytometry. Moreover, RFAP-2 is capable of visualizing differences in the resting FA levels between wild-type cells and models with a gene knockout of ADH5, a major FA-metabolizing enzyme, establishing the utility of this ratiometric detection platform for identifying and probing sources of FA fluxes in biology.
Formate overflow coupled to mitochondrial oxidative metabolism\ has been observed in cancer cell lines, but whether that takes place in the tumor microenvironment is not known. Here we report the observation of serine catabolism to formate in normal murine tissues, with a relative rate correlating with serine levels and the tissue oxidative state. Yet, serine catabolism to formate is increased in the transformed tissue of in vivo models of intestinal adenomas and mammary carcinomas. The increased serine catabolism to formate is associated with increased serum formate levels. Finally, we show that inhibition of formate production by genetic interference reduces cancer cell invasion and this phenotype can be rescued by exogenous formate. We conclude that increased formate overflow is a hallmark of oxidative cancers and that high formate levels promote invasion via a yet unknown mechanism.
BRCA1 is a crucial human breast and ovarian cancer tumor suppressor gene. The article by Drost et al. in this issue of Cancer Cell together with a recent paper in Science now provide a clearer picture of how this large and complex protein suppresses tumorigenesis. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.
Metabolism is predicted to generate formaldehyde, a toxic, simple, reactive aldehyde that can damage DNA. Here we report a synthetic lethal interaction in avian cells between ADH5, encoding the main formaldehyde-detoxifying enzyme, and the Fanconi anemia (FA) DNA-repair pathway. These results define a fundamental role for the combined action of formaldehyde catabolism and DNA cross-link repair in vertebrate cell survival.
A key step in the Fanconi anemia (FA) tumor suppressor pathway is the site-specific monoubiquitination of the FANCD2 protein. Genetic studies indicate that this crucial modification requires eight known FA gene products and the E2-conjugating enzyme Ube2t. Here, we minimally reconstitute this monoubiquitination reaction with Ube2t and the FANCL protein, revealing that monoubiquitination is stimulated by a conserved RWD-like domain in FANCL. Furthermore, addition of the FANCI protein enhances monoubiquitination and also restricts it to the in vivo substrate lysine residue on FANCD2. This work therefore establishes a system that provides mechanistic insight into the functions of FANCL and FANCI in the catalysis of FANCD2 monoubiquitination.
UBE2T, the Fanconi anemia core complex, and FANCD2 are recruited independently to chromatin: a basis for the regulation of FANCD2 monoubiquitination.
The Fanconi anemia (FA) nuclear core complex and the E2 ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme UBE2T are required for the S phase and DNA damage-restricted monoubiquitination of FANCD2. This constitutes a key step in the FA tumor suppressor pathway, and much attention has been focused on the regulation at this point. Here, we address the importance of the assembly of the FA core complex and the subcellular localization of UBE2T in the regulation of FANCD2 monoubiquitination. We establish three points. First, the stable assembly of the FA core complex can be dissociated of its ability to function as an E3 ubiquitin ligase. Second, the actual E3 ligase activity is not determined by the assembly of the FA core complex but rather by its DNA damage-induced localization to chromatin. Finally, UBE2T and FANCD2 access this subcellular fraction independently of the FA core complex. FANCD2 monoubiquitination is therefore not regulated by multiprotein complex assembly but by the formation of an active E2/E3 holoenzyme on chromatin.
The Fanconi anaemia (FA) pathway repairs DNA damage caused by endogenous and chemotherapy-induced DNA crosslinks, and responds to replication stress1,2. Genetic inactivation of this pathway by mutation of genes encoding FA complementation group (FANC) proteins impairs development, prevents blood production and promotes cancer1,3. The key molecular step in the FA pathway is the monoubiquitination of a pseudosymmetric heterodimer of FANCD2-FANCI4,5 by the FA core complex-a megadalton multiprotein E3 ubiquitin ligase6,7. Monoubiquitinated FANCD2 then recruits additional protein factors to remove the DNA crosslink or to stabilize the stalled replication fork. A molecular structure of the FA core complex would explain how it acts to maintain genome stability. Here we reconstituted an active, recombinant FA core complex, and used cryo-electron microscopy and mass spectrometry to determine its structure. The FA core complex comprises two central dimers of the FANCB and FA-associated protein of 100 kDa (FAAP100) subunits, flanked by two copies of the RING finger subunit, FANCL. These two heterotrimers act as a scaffold to assemble the remaining five subunits, resulting in an extended asymmetric structure. Destabilization of the scaffold would disrupt the entire complex, resulting in a non-functional FA pathway. Thus, the structure provides a mechanistic basis for the low numbers of patients with mutations in FANCB, FANCL and FAAP100. Despite a lack of sequence homology, FANCB and FAAP100 adopt similar structures. The two FANCL subunits are in different conformations at opposite ends of the complex, suggesting that each FANCL has a distinct role. This structural and functional asymmetry of dimeric RING finger domains may be a general feature of E3 ligases. The cryo-electron microscopy structure of the FA core complex provides a foundation for a detailed understanding of its E3 ubiquitin ligase activity and DNA interstrand crosslink repair.
Maternal metabolism provides essential nutrients to enable embryonic development. However, both mother and embryo produce reactive metabolites that can damage DNA. Here we discover how the embryo is protected from these genotoxins. Pregnant mice lacking Aldh2, a key enzyme that detoxifies reactive aldehydes, cannot support the development of embryos lacking the Fanconi anemia DNA repair pathway gene Fanca. Remarkably, transferring Aldh2(-/-)Fanca(-/-) embryos into wild-type mothers suppresses developmental defects and rescues embryonic lethality. These rescued neonates have severely depleted hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, indicating that despite intact maternal aldehyde catabolism, fetal Aldh2 is essential for hematopoiesis. Hence, maternal and fetal aldehyde detoxification protects the developing embryo from DNA damage. Failure of this genome preservation mechanism might explain why birth defects and bone marrow failure occur in Fanconi anemia, and may have implications for fetal well-being in the many women in Southeast Asia that are genetically deficient in ALDH2.
Ubiquitination of proliferating-cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) at K164 by RAD6/RAD18 has a key role in DNA damage tolerance in yeast. Here, we report on the first genetic study of this modification in a vertebrate cell. As in yeast, mutation of K164 of PCNA to arginine in the avian cell line DT40 results in sensitivity to DNA damage but, by contrast, the DT40 pcnaK164R mutant is more sensitive than the rad18 mutant. Consistent with this, we show the presence of residual ubiquitination of PCNA at K164 in the absence of functional RAD18, suggesting the presence of an alternate PCNA ubiquitinating enzyme in DT40. Furthermore, RAD18 and PCNA K164 have non-overlapping roles in the suppression of sister chromatid exchange in DT40, showing that RAD18 has other functions that do not involve the ubiquitination of PCNA.
The helicase-associated endonuclease for fork-structured DNA (Hef) is an archaeabacterial protein that processes blocked replication forks. Here we have isolated the vertebrate Hef ortholog and investigated its molecular function. Disruption of this gene in chicken DT40 cells results in genomic instability and sensitivity to DNA cross-links. The similarity of this phenotype to that of cells lacking the Fanconi anemia-related (FA) tumor-suppressor genes led us to investigate whether Hef functions in this pathway. Indeed, we found a genetic interaction between the FANCC and Hef genes. In addition, Hef is a component of the FA nuclear protein complex that facilitates its DNA damage-inducible chromatin localization and the monoubiquitination of the FA protein FANCD2. Notably, Hef interacts directly with DNA structures that are intermediates in DNA replication. This discovery sheds light on the origins, regulation and molecular function of the FA tumor-suppressor pathway in the maintenance of genome stability.
Antigen presentation by the B cell antigen receptor is driven by the alpha/beta sheath and occurs independently of its cytoplasmic tyrosines.
Membrane immunoglobulin functions to internalize bound antigen for its subsequent processing and presentation to T cells. Although the five immunoglobulin isotypes exhibit considerable differences in their cytoplasmic domains, we show by use of matched B lymphoma transfectants that all isotypes manifest a similar high efficacy in antigen presentation. Experiments using mutant receptors reveal that this efficacy can be ascribed to the alpha/beta sheath of the receptor, where presentation correlates with internalization of polyvalent antigen. Efficient presentation is restored to a sheathless antigen receptor by providing it with only the cytoplasmic domain of the beta sheath polypeptide. This restoration of activity does not depend on the tyrosine residues in the beta cytoplasmic tail, implying that antigen receptor-mediated presentation can occur by a pathway distinct from that used by the Fc receptor Fc gamma RIII.
Monoubiquitination of the FANCD2 protein is a key step in the Fanconi anemia (FA) tumor suppressor pathway, coinciding with this molecule's accumulation at sites of genome damage. Strong circumstantial evidence points to a requirement for the BRCA1 gene product in this step. Here, we show that the purified BRCA1/BARD1 complex, together with E1 and UbcH5a, is sufficient to reconstitute the monoubiquitination of FANCD2 in vitro. Although siRNA-mediated knockdown of BRCA1 in human cells results in defective targeting of FANCD2 to sites of DNA damage, it does not lead to a defect in FANCD2 ubiquitination. Furthermore, ablation of the RING finger domains of either BRCA1 or BARD1 in the chicken B cell line DT40 also leaves FANCD2 modification intact. Consequently, while BRCA1 affects the accumulation of FANCD2 at sites of DNA damage, BRCA1/BARD1 E3 ligase activity is not essential for the monoubiquitination of FANCD2.