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Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2004 Feb;5(2):148-57.

Repairing DNA-methylation damage.

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  • Cancer Research UK London Research Institute, Clare Hall Laboratories, Blanche Lane, South Mimms, Hertfordshire EN6 3LD, UK. Barbara.Sedgwick@cancer.org.uk


Methylating agents modify DNA at many different sites, thereby producing lethal and mutagenic lesions. To remove all the main harmful base lesions, at least three types of DNA-repair activities can be used, each of which involves a different reaction mechanism. These activities include DNA-glycosylases, DNA-methyltransferases and the recently characterized DNA-dioxygenases. The Escherichia coli AlkB dioxygenase and the two human homologues, ABH2 and ABH3, represent a novel mechanism of DNA repair. They use iron-oxo intermediates to oxidize stable methylated bases in DNA and directly revert them to the unmodified form.

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