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Nucleic Acids Res. 1997 Jun 15;25(12):2495-500.

3'-phosphodiesterase activity of human apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease at DNA double-strand break ends.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23298, USA.


In order to assess the possible role of human apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease (Ape) in double-strand break repair, the substrate specificity of this enzyme was investigated using short DNA duplexes and partial duplexes, each having a single 3'-phosphoglycolate terminus. Phosphoglycolate removal by Ape was detected as a shift in mobility of 5'-end-labeled DNA strands on polyacrylamide sequencing gels, and was quantified by phosphorimaging. Recombinant Ape efficiently removed phosphoglycolates from the 3'-terminus of an internal 1 base gap in a 38mer duplex, but acted more slowly on 3'-phosphoglycolates at a 19 base-recessed 3'-terminus, at an internal nick with no missing bases, and at a double-strand break end with either blunt or 2 base-recessed 3'-termini. There was no detectable activity of Ape toward 3'-phosphoglycolates on 1 or 2 base protruding single-stranded 3'-overhangs. The results suggest that both a single-base internal gap, and duplex DNA on each side of the gap are important binding/recognition determinants for Ape. While Ape may play a role in repair of terminally blocked double-strand breaks, there must also be additional factors involved in removal of at least some damaged 3'-termini, particularly those on 3'-overhangs.

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