The effects of exogenous thymidine on endogenous deoxynucleotides and mutagenesis in mammalian cells

Guy L. Weinberg, Buddy Ullman, Connie M. Wright, David W. Martin

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19 Scopus citations


The intracellular deoxyribonucleoside triphosphate pools in mammalian cells affect diverse biological functions including the spontaneous or induced mutability. We have isolated from murine T-lymphosarcoma S49 cells, a mutant that is unable to convert dCMP to dUMP, contains deranged intracellular dNTP pools, and exhibits a mutator phenotype. The enzymatic defect in araC-6-1 cells is a deficiency of deoxycytidylate deaminase, which accounts for the high dCTP and low TTP intracellular pools. The addition of increasing concentrations of exogenous thymidine to araC-6-1 cells alters these dNTP pools in a predictable manner: increasing the TTP and diminishing the dCTP. Concomitant with this reversal of the dCTP:TTP ratio is a marked decrease in the mutation rate followed by an increase in the mutation rates at higher exogenous thymidine concentrations. This response of the mutation rate is in contrast to that seen in the control cell line containing normal deoxycytidylate deaminase. In the latter case, increasing thymidine concentration induces an enhanced mutation rate that parallels the later phase of the thymidine-induced mutation rate in araC-6-1 cells. The deficiency of deoxycytidylate deaminase, the endogeneous dNTP pool alterations, and the mutator phenotype of araC-6-1 cells are all recessive traits in cell-cell hybrids. These observations allow one to predict whether exogenous thymidine will be mutagenic, antimutagenic, or both for a given cell line and provide a basis for understanding conflicting reports in the literature concerning the effects of thymidine on genomic stability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-419
Number of pages7
JournalSomatic Cell and Molecular Genetics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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