Conditional Mutator Phenotypes in hMSH2-Deficient Tumor Cell Lines

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Science  05 Sep 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5331, pp. 1523-1526
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5331.1523

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Two human tumor cell lines that are deficient in the mismatch repair protein hMSH2 show little or no increase in mutation rate relative to that of a mismatch repair–proficient cell line when the cells are maintained in culture conditions allowing rapid growth. However, mutations accumulate at a high rate in these cells when they are maintained at high density. Thus the mutator phenotype of some mismatch repair–deficient cell lines is conditional and strongly depends on growth conditions. These observations have implications for tumor development because they suggest that mutations may accumulate in tumor cells when growth is limited.

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