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DNA Repair (Amst). 2007 Apr 1;6(4):429-42. Epub 2006 Nov 16.

Repair of alkylated DNA: recent advances.

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Cancer Research UK London Research Institute, Clare Hall Laboratories, South Mimms, Hertfordshire EN6 3LD, UK.


Cytotoxic and mutagenic methylated bases in DNA can be generated by endogenous and environmental alkylating agents. Such damaged bases are removed by three distinct strategies. The abundant toxic lesion 3-methyladenine (3-alkyladenine) is excised by a specific DNA glycosylase that initiates a base excision-repair process. The toxic lesions 1-methyladenine and 3-methylcytosine are corrected by oxidative DNA demethylation catalyzed by DNA dioxygenases. These enzymes release the methyl moiety as formaldehyde, directly reversing the base damage. The third strategy involves the mutagenic and cytotoxic lesion O(6)-methylguanine which is also repaired by direct reversal but uses a different mechanism. Here, the methyl group is transferred from the lesion to a specific cysteine residue within the methyltransferase itself. In this review, we briefly describe endogenous alkylating agents and the extensively investigated DNA repair enzymes, mammalian 3-methyladenine-DNA glycosylase and O(6)-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase. We provide a more detailed description of the structures and biochemical properties of the recently discovered DNA dioxygenases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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