Mismatch and base excision repair proficiency in murine embryonic stem cells

Elisia D. Tichy, Li Liang, Li Deng, Jay Tischfield, Sandy Schwemberger, George Babcock, Peter J. Stambrook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Accumulation of mutations in embryonic stem (ES) cells would be detrimental to an embryo derived from these cells, and would adversely affect multiple organ systems and tissue types. ES cells have evolved multiple mechanisms to preserve genomic integrity that extend beyond those found in differentiated cell types. The present study queried whether mismatch repair (MMR) and base-excision repair (BER) may play a role in the maintenance of murine ES cell genomes. The MMR proteins Msh2 and Msh6 are highly elevated in mouse ES cells compared with mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEFs), as are Pms2 and Mlh1, albeit to a lesser extent. Cells transfected with an MMR reporter plasmid showed that MMR repair capacity is low in MEFs, but highly active in wildtype ES cells. As expected, an ES cell line defective in MMR was several-fold less effective in repair level than wildtype ES cells. Like proteins that participate in MMR, the level of proteins involved in BER was elevated in ES cells compared with MEFs. When BER activity was examined biochemically using a uracil-containing oligonucleotide template, repair activity was higher in ES cells compared with MEFs. The data are consistent with the suggestion that ES cells have multiple mechanisms, including highly active MMR and BER that preserve genetic integrity and minimize the accumulation of mutations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-451
Number of pages7
JournalDNA Repair
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 3 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


  • Base excision repair
  • DNA repair
  • ES
  • Embryonic stem
  • Mismatch repair


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