The roles of MLH1 and MSH2 in growth and drug resistance in human colorectal cancer cells
Loss of genomic stability is associated with a variety of diseases, particularly cancer. Of the many proteins which maintain genomic integrity, two of the most important are MLH1 and MSH2, which participate in DNA mismatch repair. Previous work established derivatives of the CaCo2 human colorectal cancer cell line with siRNA-mediated knockdown of these proteins. When xenografted into mice, tumors with reduced MLH1 or MSH2 expression grew faster than controls. Following growth in vivo, clonal cell lines were established from the tumors and used to examine the effects that knockdown of MSH2 had on other members of the DNA mismatch repair system. Clonal survival following exposure to 5-fluorouracil was also evaluated, and those cells with reduced MLH1 and MSH2 levels were found to be resistant. This study has implications for the importance of knowing the MMR status of a given tumor when deciding on a course of treatment, and of the compounding effects of the loss of one MMR protein on others in the family.