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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1992 Sep 15;89(18):8779-83.

Escherichia coli MutY protein has both N-glycosylase and apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease activities on A.C and A.G mispairs.

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  • 1Department of Biological Chemistry, School of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore 21201.


In Escherichia coli the mutY (or micA)-dependent DNA mismatch repair pathway can convert A degrees G and A degrees C mismatches to C.G and G.C base pairs, respectively, through a short repair-tract mechanism. The MutY protein has been purified to near homogeneity from an E. coli overproducer strain. Purified MutY has been shown to contain both N-glycosylase and 3' apurinic/apyrimidinic (AP) endonuclease activities. The N-glycosylase removes the mispaired adenines of A degrees G and A degrees C mismatches, and the AP endonuclease acts on the first phosphodiester bond 3' to the AP sites. The N-glycosylase and the nicking (combined N-glycosylase and AP endonuclease) activities copurified through multiple chromatographic steps without a change in relative specific activities. Furthermore, both N-glycosylase and AP endonuclease activities can be recovered by renaturation of a single polypeptide band from an SDS/polyacrylamide gel. Renaturation required the presence of iron and sulfide. These findings suggest that the MutY protein, like endonuclease III, is an iron-sulfur protein. DNA fragments with A degrees C mismatches were 20-fold less active than DNA with A degrees G mispairs as a substrate for purified MutY.

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