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Mutat Res. 2000 Aug 30;460(3-4):165-81.

Structure and function in the uracil-DNA glycosylase superfamily.

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Section of Structural Biology and CRC DNA Repair Enzyme Group, Institute of Cancer Research, Chester Beatty Laboratories, 237 Fulham Road, SW3 6JB, London, UK.


Deamination of cytosine to uracil is one of the major pro-mutagenic events in DNA, causing G:C-->A:T transition mutations if not repaired before replication. Repair of uracil-DNA is achieved in a base-excision pathway initiated by a uracil-DNA glycosylase (UDG) enzyme of which four families have so far been identified. Family-1 enzymes are active against uracil in ssDNA and dsDNA, and recognise uracil explicitly in an extrahelical conformation via a combination of protein and bound-water interactions. Extrahelical recognition requires an efficient process of substrate location by 'base-sampling' probably by hopping or gliding along the DNA. Family-2 enzymes are mismatch specific and explicitly recognise the widowed guanine on the complementary strand rather than the extrahelical scissile pyrimidine. This allows a broader specificity so that some Family-2 enzymes can excise uracil and 3, N(4)-ethenocytosine from mismatches with guanine. Although structures are not yet available for Family-3 (SMUG) and Family-4 enzymes, sequence analysis suggests similar overall folds, and identifies common active site motifs but with a surprising lack of conservation of catalytic residues between members of the super-family.

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