Peer-Reviewed Publications

      Dissection of Cancer Mutational Signatures with Individual Components of Cigarette Smoking

      Mingard, C.; Battey, J. N. D.; Takhaveev, V.; Blatter, K.; Hürlimann, V.; Sierro, N.; Ivanov, N. V.; Sturla, S. J.

      Mar 28, 2023

      Tobacco smoke delivers a complex mixture of hazardous and potentially hazardous chemicals. Some of these may induce the formation of DNA mutations, which increases the risk of various cancers that display characteristic patterns of accumulated mutations arising from the causative exposures. Tracking the contributions of individual mutagens to mutational signatures present in human cancers can help understand cancer etiology and advance disease prevention strategies. To characterize the potential contributions of individual constituents of tobacco smoke to tobacco exposure-associated mutational signatures, we first assessed the toxic potential of 13 tobacco-relevant compounds by determining their impact on the viability of a human bronchial lung epithelial cell line (BEAS-2B). Experimentally derived high-resolution mutational profiles were characterized for the seven most potent compounds by sequencing the genomes of clonally expanded mutants that arose after exposure to the individual chemicals. Analogous to the classification of mutagenic processes on the basis of signatures from human cancers, we extracted mutational signatures from the mutant clones. We confirmed the formation of previously characterized benzo[a]pyrene mutational signatures. Furthermore, we discovered three novel mutational signatures. The mutational signatures arising from benzo[a]pyrene and norharmane were similar to human lung cancer signatures attributed to tobacco smoking. However, the signatures arising from N-methyl-N′-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine and 4-(acetoxymethyl)nitrosamino]-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone were not directly related to known tobacco-linked mutational signatures from human cancers. This new data set expands the scope of the in vitro mutational signature catalog and advances understanding of how environmental agents mutate DNA.