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J Exp Med. 2012 May 7;209(5):965-74. doi: 10.1084/jem.20112379. Epub 2012 Apr 23.

Ectopic restriction of DNA repair reveals that UNG2 excises AID-induced uracils predominantly or exclusively during G1 phase.

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  • 1Centenary Institute, the University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.


Immunoglobulin (Ig) affinity maturation requires the enzyme AID, which converts cytosines (C) in Ig genes into uracils (U). This alone produces C:G to T:A transition mutations. Processing of U:G base pairs via U N-glycosylase 2 (UNG2) or MutSα generates further point mutations, predominantly at G:C or A:T base pairs, respectively, but it is unclear why processing is mutagenic. We aimed to test whether the cell cycle phase of U processing determines fidelity. Accordingly, we ectopically restricted UNG2 activity in vivo to predefined cell cycle phases by fusing a UNG2 inhibitor peptide to cell cycle-regulated degradation motifs. We found that excision of AID-induced U by UNG2 occurs predominantly during G1 phase, inducing faithful repair, mutagenic processing, and class switching. Surprisingly, UNG2 does not appear to process U:G base pairs at all in Ig genes outside G1 phase.

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