Development of an in vitro PIG-A gene mutation assay in human cells

Benjamin J. Rees, Matthew Tate, Anthony M. Lynch, Catherine A. Thornton, Gareth J. Jenkins, Richard Walmsley, George E. Johnson

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Mutagens can be carcinogens, and traditionally, they have been identified in vitro using the Salmonella ‘Ames’ reverse mutation assay. However, prokaryotic DNA packaging, replication and repair systems are mechanistically very different to those in the humans we inevitably seek to protect. Therefore, for many years, mammalian cell line genotoxicity assays that can detect eukaryotic mutagens as well as clastogens and aneugens have been used. The apparent lack of specificity in these largely rodent systems, due partly to their mutant p53 status, has contributed to the use of animal studies to resolve data conflicts. Recently, silencing mutations at the PIG-A locus have been demonstrated to prevent glycophosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchor synthesis and consequentially result in loss of GPI-anchored proteins from the cell’s extracellular surface. The successful exploitation of this mutant phenotype in animal studies has triggered interest in the development of an analogous in vitro PIG-A mutation screening
assay. This article describes the development of a robust assay design using metabolically active human cells. The assay includes viability and cell membrane integrity assessment and conforms to the future ideas of the 21st-century toxicology testing.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date4 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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