8-Oxo-7,8-dihydroguanine- (8-oxoguanine-) containing nucleotides are generated in the cellular nucleotide pool by the action of oxygen radicals produced during normal cellular metabolism. We examined the interconversion and metabolic fate of 8-oxoguanine-containing ribonucleotides in mammalian cells. (1) 8-OxoGTP can be generated not only by direct oxidation of GTP but also by phosphorylation of 8-oxoGDP by nucleotide diphosphate kinase, and the 8-oxoGTP thus formed can serve as a substrate for RNA polymerase II to induce transcription errors. (2) MTH1 protein carrying intrinsic 8-oxo-dGTPase activity has the potential to hydrolyze 8-oxoGTP to 8-oxoGMP, thus preventing misincorporation of 8-oxoguanine into RNA. 8-OxoGMP, the degradation product, cannot be reutilized, since guanylate kinase, which has the potential to phosphorylate both GMP and dGMP, is inactive on 8-oxoGMP. (3) Ribonucleotide reductase, which catalyzes reduction of four naturally occurring ribonucleoside diphosphates, cannot convert 8-oxoguanine-containing ribonucleotide to the deoxyribonucleotide. This step appears to serve as a gatekeeper to prevent formation of mutagenic substrates for DNA synthesis from oxidized ribonucleotides.
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