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J Biol Chem. 2003 Dec 12;278(50):49679-84. Epub 2003 Sep 30.

Repair of oxidized bases in DNA bubble structures by human DNA glycosylases NEIL1 and NEIL2.

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Sealy Center for Molecular Science and Department of Human Biological Chemistry and Genetics, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas 77555, USA.


Repair of oxidatively damaged bases in the genome via the base excision repair pathway is initiated with excision of these lesions by DNA glycosylases with broad substrate range. The newly discovered human DNA glycosylases, NEIL1 and NEIL2, are distinct in structural features and reaction mechanism from the previously characterized NTH1 and OGG1 but act on many of the same substrates. However, NEIL2 shows a unique preference for excising lesions from a DNA bubble, whereas NTH1 and OGG1 are only active with duplex DNA. NEIL1 also excises efficiently 5-hydroxyuracil, an oxidation product of cytosine, from the bubble and single-stranded DNA but does not have strong activity toward 8-oxoguanine in the bubble. The dichotomy in the activity of NEILs versus NTH1/OGG1 for bubble versus duplex DNA substrates is consistent with higher affinity of the NEILs for the bubble structures of both damaged and undamaged DNA relative to duplex structure. These observations suggest that the NEILs are functionally distinct from OGG1/NTH1 in vivo. OGG1/NTH1-independent repair of oxidized bases in the transcribed sequences supports the possibility that NEILs are preferentially involved in repair of lesions in DNA bubbles generated during transcription and/or replication.

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