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Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol. 2001;36(3):261-90.

Unraveling DNA repair in human: molecular mechanisms and consequences of repair defect.

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International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, New Delhi, India.


Cellular genomes are vulnerable to an array of DNA-damaging agents, of both endogenous and environmental origin. Such damage occurs at a frequency too high to be compatible with life. As a result cell death and tissue degeneration, aging and cancer are caused. To avoid this and in order for the genome to be reproduced, these damages must be corrected efficiently by DNA repair mechanisms. Eukaryotic cells have multiple mechanisms for the repair of damaged DNA. These repair systems in humans protect the genome by repairing modified bases, DNA adducts, crosslinks and double-strand breaks. The lesions in DNA are eliminated by mechanisms such as direct reversal, base excision and nucleotide excision. The base excision repair eliminates single damaged-base residues by the action of specialized DNA glycosylases and AP endonucleases. Nucleotide excision repair excises damage within oligomers that are 25 to 32 nucleotides long. This repair utilizes many proteins to remove the major UV-induced photoproducts from DNA, as well as other types of modified nucleotides. Different DNA polymerases and ligases are utilized to complete the separate pathways. The double-strand breaks in DNA are repaired by mechanisms that involve DNA protein kinase and recombination proteins. The defect in one of the repair protein results in three rare recessive syndromes: xeroderma pigmentosum, Cockayne syndrome, and trichothiodystrophy. This review describes the biochemistry of various repair processes and summarizes the clinical features and molecular mechanisms underlying these disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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