DNA mismatch repair (MMR) maintains genome stability primarily by correcting replication-associated mismatches. Defects in MMR lead to several human cancers characterized by frequent alterations in simple repetitive DNA sequences, a phenomenon called microsatellite instability (MSI). In most MSI-positive cancers, genetic or epigenetic changes that alter the function or expression of an essential MMR protein have been identified. However, in a subset of MSI-positive cancers, epigenetic or genetic changes have not been found in known MMR genes, such that the molecular basis of the MMR defect in these cells remains unknown. A possible answer to this puzzle emerged recently when it was discovered that H3K36me3, a well-studied posttranslational histone modification or histone mark, plays a role in regulating humanMMRin vivo. In this review, potential roles for this histone mark to modulate genome stability and cancer susceptibility in human cells are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research