The DNA glycosylase gene MBD4 safeguards genomic stability at CpG sites and is frequently mutated at coding poly-A tracks in mismatch repair (MMR)-defective colorectal tumors (CRC). Mbd4 biallelic inactivation in mice provided conflicting results as to its role in tumorigenesis. Thus, it is unclear whether MBD4 alterations are only secondary to MMR defects without functional consequences or can contribute to the mutator phenotype. We investigated MBD4 variants in a large series of hereditary/familial and sporadic CRC cases. Whereas MBD4 frameshifts were only detected in tumors, missense variants were found in both normal and tumor DNA. In CRC with double-MBD4/MMR and single-MBD4 variants, transition mutation frequency was increased, indicating that MBD4 defects may affect the mutational landscape independently of MMR defect. Mbd4-deficient mice showed reduced survival when combined with Mlh1-/- genotype. Taken together, these data suggest that MBD4 inactivation may contribute to tumorigenesis, acting as a modifier of MMR-deficient cancer phenotype.
- colorectal cancer
- mismatch repair