Claire Cupples

Professor Emeritus
Molecular Biology & Biochemistry

Areas of interest

DNA, the keeper of genetic information in all organisms, is constantly modified by internal and external factors during the cell's lifetime. Many types of DNA modification cause mutations. Although mutations may be harmful to individual cells or organisms, mutation in populations is valuable because it leads to genetic variation and ultimately to evolution. There are even circumstances when it is useful to increase the number of mutations in a cell, for example in genes that code for antibodies. Maintaining the optimal balance between genetic stability and variability requires the cell to balance the frequency with which modifications to the DNA occur, and the efficiency with which the original sequence is restored by the various DNA repair pathways.


  • BSc (hons) University of Victoria 
  • MSc University of Calgary 
  • PhD York University

Selected Publications

  • Polosina, YY, Cupples CG. (2011) Mutagenesis Mechanisms, Encyclopaedia of Life Sciences, Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Polosina YY, Cupples CG. (2010) Wot the 'L-Does MutL do? Mutat Res. 705: 228-38.
  • Polosina YY, Cupples CG. (2010) MutL: conducting the cell's response to mismatched and misaligned DNA. Bioessays. 32(1):51-9.
  • Polosina YY, Cupples CG. (2009) Changes in the conformation of the Vsr endonuclease amino-terminal domain accompany DNA cleavage. J. Biochem. 146(4):523-6.
  • Heinze RJ, Giron-Monzon L, Solovyova A, Elliot SL, Geisler S, Cupples CG, Connolly BA, Friedhoff P. (2009) Physical and functional interactions between Escherichia coli MutL and the Vsr repair endonuclease. Nucleic Acids Res. 37(13):4453-63.
  • Cupples CG (2009) DNA Repair, Encyclopedia of Microbiology, pp 99-112, Elsevier.
  • Polosina YY, Mui J, Pitsikas P, Cupples CG. (2009)The Escherichia coli mismatch repair protein MutL recruits the Vsr and MutH endonucleases in response to DNA damage. J. Bacteriol. 191(12):4041-3.
  • Pitsikas P, Polosina YY, Cupples CG. (2009) Interaction between the mismatch repair and nucleotide excision repair pathways in the prevention of 5-azacytidine-induced CG-to-GC mutations in Escherichia coli. DNA Repair (Amst). 8(3):354-9.
  • Ali M, Kim H, Cleary S, Cupples C, Gallinger S, Bristow R. (2008) Characterization of mutant MUTYH proteins associated with familial colorectal cancer. Gastroenterology. 135(2):499-507.
  • Ishibashi T, So K, Cupples CG, Ausi J. (2008) MBD4-mediated glycosylase activity on a chromatin template is enhanced by acetylation. Mol Cell Biol. 28(15):4734-44.